About 2 weeks ago I was asked to do a presentation to a group of CFO’s and other senior finance professionals about how the nature of their work was changing and what was expected of them as they navigated the “Now, the New, and the Next.”
Our dialogue, backed by several excellent articles from HBR and Strategy & Business, reinforced what most know about the CFO role – that it is rapidly evolving, extremely complex, and encompasses a range of skills that weren’t typically taught at business school. And it is a stressful position that loses a high percentage of smart people due to the responsibility for execution and the demand for driving strategic partnerships.
In brief, the CFO is expected to:
Operate a tight financial function
Be the “chief metrics officer”
Have broad line management and deep Board responsibilities
Be the steward of resources for the organization
Be a strong thinking partner to the CEO
Drive the strategic agenda
Be at the forefront of transformation and change
And be responsible for talent management and development
Broad, deep, and big-time responsibilities. And a clear example of what Marshall Goldsmith describes as “What got you here won’t get you there.”
This is no longer a function populated by “bean counters.” Rather it is at the center of a strong executive team and a finance function that reaches across the enterprise, informs and influences every part of the business, and uses both the 30,000-foot and highly detailed perspective to bring all the parts of a complex business together.
The current and evolving CFO role is at the heart of a Top Leadership Team. The game has changed.
Lawrence Levin PhD
Founder & President
The Levin Group LLC