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Are CFOs now mini CEOs?

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

CFOs are increasingly viewed by CEOs and business owners as a critical internal business adviser and not just a glorified accountant. This is a business trend that is accelerating not only throughout the world but especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A recent article by Raconteur takes note of this trend and illustrates how important a CFO is to business owners and CEOs:

"The pressure on companies to innovate and compete in an increasingly complex, fast-moving and transparent world has led to the chief financial officers of large businesses becoming more involved in driving the commercial activities of their organisations. So they are helping to improve the business, manage margins, assess potential new markets, make investment decisions and oversee mergers and acquisitions.

“These are activities that all conceivably fall under the umbrella of strategy and require chief financial officers to possess a wide set of skills.”

A good CFO is no longer just a financial or accounting bean-counter. Clearly, the best CFOs have a broad perspective and experience in order to generate strategic and operational insights, which can improve sales, costs, profits, and cash flows.

The article goes on to state that the trend is for advanced CEOs to say:

“I need a CFO who will second-guess me because that will make my decision-making more robust. I need a commercial equal in that role.”

We have also experienced this trend first-hand as we have been providing outsourced CFO services to businesses for many years. The complexity and pace of business has only increased over time. Business owners and CEOs need their CFOs to dive deeper into strategy and business operations in order to improve their companies.

Other crucial decisions where the best CFOs make an impact can range from new markets, new products, recruiting, investment decisions, acquisitions, sales strategies, supplier management, working capital management, and a whole host of other types of decisions.

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