5 Major Influences on the Role of Today’s CFO

5 Major Influences on the Role of Today’s CFO



The role of the CFO has evolved more than any other C-level position. Prior to the 1990s, the CFO’s role was transactional, limited to overseeing the financial health of an organization and ensuring that adequate financial controls were in place. More recently, the role has expanded greatly and become significantly more strategic. This transformed role is driven by fiscal uncertainties, innovative technologies, changes in the regulatory environment, the demand for greater transparency and efficiency, stricter compliance requirements, and increased globalization of operations. In a steadily increasing number of organizations, the CFO and the finance & accounting function are shifting their focus from transactions and cost efficiencies, to helping guide their organizations in a progressively complex business world. Some of the most significant changes are evident in the following areas:

Central roles in strategic decisions
In addition to the CFO’s key task of guarding the company’s financial health, the role has become increasingly involved in determining operational and commercial strategies. The CFO is expected to assist his organization in navigating through complex regulations, unstable markets, and unprecedented globalization. CFOs are in a unique position within the organization, as they have the ability to gather information from disparate parts of the company, and utilize their breadth of knowledge to provide a trusted advisor to the business, actively participating in broadening the corporate vision and driving the organization toward achieving its objectives.

Department leadership
Since the financial crisis of the early 2000’s, organizations have prioritized the need to ensure stakeholder trust in the financial stability of the business. CFOs are expected to champion the organization’s strategic and operational decisions, along with their traditional roles in compliance and control, governance, and business ethics. Aside from the CFO’s own reputation as a financial manager, his/her ability to attract, retain and develop talent contributes greatly to a well-operating and value-added finance function.

Communication skills
Excellent communication skills have become critical for the CFO.  They must be able to translate complex information and communicate it simply and effectively to both internal and external audiences. Whether the audience is colleagues, vendors, customers, investors, regulators, leaders of other business units, or other internal and external stakeholders, the CFO must engage and communicate effectively, as one of the most visible representatives of the organization.

Technology adopter
With the massive amounts of data available today, CFOs must embrace modern technology and the expanded benefits and options it offers to the finance function. The most appropriate technologies enable Finance to maintain a stable infrastructure and implement efficiencies that help companies grow and create competitive advantages. Along these lines, the management and recovery of VAT is often seen as one of the most complex and demanding functions of a global finance department.

Forward-thinking organizations often engage VATBox to assist with these challenges. VATBox is a cloud-based technology platform that has transformed VAT management by streamlining the global VAT compliance and recovery process, and providing businesses with unparalleled visibility, compliance and data integrity. For more information about how VATBox can help your organization, click here.

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