The role of the CFO is essential to any business, providing crucial financial data and keeping the grand ideas under fiscal control. But CFOs can, and should, provide far more value than a correct set of accounts. There are many ways the CFO of the future could enhance their role to help effectively govern, shape and grow their businesses. Here we review some of the areas that could define the future role of the CFO.
First, and perhaps most important, is technology. CFOs should be huge exponents of technology. Not just how it can be utilised to increase business performance and add enormous value, but the benefits and opportunities it provides. Automation has quickly become a key feature of our digital workplace, adding value and freeing-up time across the whole business, and completely transforming finance function. CFOs need understanding of the various platforms and to investigate and suggest more innovative solutions to be able make best use of tech.
CFOs should also investigate options available through third parties, like Auxadi, which can significantly enhance a firm’s use of technology without any enormous spend, training downtime, or operational delays. Not only do third parties take care of upgrades and maintenance, but many have invested heavily in their own technology platforms taking the financial burden off the CFO and making life significantly easier.
Cloud-based solutions provide real-time data access, and interpreting data is a key CFO function – and it’s highly transferrable, able to be expanded into every corner of the business. Data is being collected every day from all parts of the business and it offers insights that the CFO uniquely placed to discover. And not just in their own house. CFOs should be monitoring the competition to see where they have the advantage, and evaluate how you can best leverage your tech (or propose solutions in areas you’re falling behind in) to enhance your competitive reach.
But being tech-savvy isn’t enough. A CFO needs to be innovative. No matter the level of maturity or tech deployment your company has, a CFO should be aware of technological innovations underway. Blockchain, De-Fi, NFTs, and new paradigms like Web3 (as an example) should be on every CFO’s mind. The CFO can be a driver for company-wide innovation – a facilitator for change.
2 – CFO’s should speak the language of data
In today’s digital world, a CFO should be able to analyse data transversally, since numbers aren’t restricted to the finance department. Whether it be sales data, people analytics, customer traffic data, or even staff time-logs showing which clients are being under-charged, a CFO’s analytical skills can be leveraged as never before.
Being able to access data in near-real-time is invaluable, particularly in today’s challenging economy. Timely data allows companies to react quickly and effectively – and the CFO is best placed to provide it. CFOs can set their own metrics and pull forecasts together with speed and agility, modelling possible options and outcomes, and providing data-backed, measurable, and quantifiable confirmation of success.
3 – Global vision, local knowledge
In times of global disruption, CFO’s should cultivate agility and effectiveness. The global pandemic has been one of the biggest proving grounds for businesses, and agility has been a key characteristic of those companies who have risen to the challenge. Effective data analysis and interpretation has worked alongside technology to drive business continuity in this most challenging of times. And businesses that proved agile, reacting quickly and effectively, are best placed as we start to quantify our new normal.
CFOs now also need to have a global vision and a deep knowledge of each of the jurisdictions in which the company is present; since (thanks to this agility and ecommerce), organisations are no longer operating completely within one single country. A global picture and strong local knowledge will help the CFO, and hence the organisation, to get ahead of trends and take the most out of the competitive advantages every market has to offer.
4 – Leader and facilitator, unravelling the complexity
To be able to operate on a multi-country level in various international environments, the CFO must be able to collaborate with other departments and even lead collaborative teams outside the company, involving third parties. Much of today’s business environment involves departmental cross-over, and the CFO is best place to ease and facilitate a level of inter-departmental collaboration that can bring coherency and inclusion to the business as a whole and, in essence, make complex environments easy.
Collaborations not only improve professional relationships, understanding and day-to-day life in the office, but getting all departments working towards fully identifiable, measurable, common goals improves morale across the board. As budgets, forecasts and analysis affects every part of the business, a CFO’s inter-personal, management and leadership skills should come into play to direct, promote and encourage the business to work as one.
5 – Ensuring value creation and reputation
But what perhaps best encompasses the role of the CFO of the future is the paradigm shift of ESG. The CFO of tomorrow shouldn’t only be focused on the financial growth of the company, but on guaranteeing a contribution to society. Thus, the CFO can be the one who ensures value is brought not only to company shareholders, but to all.
The CFO can ensure that ESG criteria are at the heart of management and that concepts such as equality and sustainability are, and remain, key strategic drivers – thereby enhancing the company’s reputation and brand.
Auxadi helps CFOs
At Auxadi, our mission is to make life easier for our clients.
As a technology-driven company, our cloud-based MultiCountry technology platform has been purpose built in-house, through our Gold Partnership with Microsoft and using Azure and Dynamics technologies. Our 40 years’ experience with international business proved to us that software was sorely needed, but we couldn’t find anything suitable – so we built our own.
Our unique MultiCountry platform provides real-time access to the financial data from every one of your international holdings on the same platform, at the same time, with a single login. Data is secure and transparent, using clearly defined and matched terms. Consolidation is a breeze, reporting and analysis are easier than ever. And, if you add our international payroll platform, every financial part of your business is supported by us.
We enable international expansion and investment through our 22 offices across Europe and the Americas, and we can service more than 50 jurisdictions around the globe. Our experts have local knowledge you can trust. You don’t need to know the intricacies of every jurisdiction – our professionals have that knowledge and can help with every stage of your international business.
What’s more, our single-point-of-contact delivery model puts you at the heart of our business, making us an extension of your in-house team. We’ll grow as you do and support you with local knowledge and expertise to make the complex simple.
And the time you save by outsourcing your accounting, tax and payroll to us gives CFOs (and their teams) the time to develop their roles beyond the purely financial, adding value and enabling professional growth.
The CFO of the future is proactive, collaborative, and insightful. And Auxadi can help. To find out how, simply get in touch.