CEOs Expecting More From CFO – People, Process, and Systems needed to get there

CFO Magazine published the results of a recent KPMG survey asking CEOs what they were looking for from CFOs.   The short answer is “a lot”.  But the biggest takeaway that we see is that CEOs want their finance teams to contribute more to the strategic success of the organization.  They want finance to be proactive in finding and using analytics to improve the business

  • 85 percent of CEOs say applying financial data to achieve profitable growth is the greatest strategic value a CFO can bring to an organization.
    • CEOs expect their CFOs to take the initiative to apply financial data analysis to explore new products, markets and channels.
    • Strengthening the alignment between financial planning and corporate strategy will likely be one of the CFOs top five priorities going forward.

This comes as no surprise to us.  CFO’s, controllers, VPs of Internal audit, and other senior members of the finance team have been telling us that Finance needs “a seat at the table”. The question we face is how do finance departments earn that seat?

The study points out two key competencies that CEOs want from their CFOs: People and Technology

  • 97 percent of CEOs say attracting and retaining top finance talent is the most important contributing factor to improve the finance function.
    • However, only 33 percent of CEOs give their CFOs a passing grade in talent management.

and

  • 70 percent of CEOs say technology will have the greatest effect on the future role of the CFO.
    • However, only less than half of CEOs think their CFO is doing a good job in exploring and implementing the best new technology.

We think there is one more thing – Process.  Specifically continuously improving processes.  Processes that are efficient, documented, and responsive to change.  Processes that promote communication and accountability.  It is our experience that good process not only frees finance team members from frustration, it also improves compliance.  The added bonus is that by making day to day processes more efficient and effective, finance team members gain the time they need to add the proactive analytics that CEOs want