CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) has taken center stage as firms try to navigate economic uncertainties, advising other company leaders on strategy and cooperating with colleagues. This has clearly impacted the CFO’s work, which was formerly viewed as a number’s role. A pandemic, inflation, and now fears of a downturn have allowed finance chiefs to interact and communicate with a far broader set of stakeholders.
But are they taking advantage?
The Oracle NetSuite research team polled 500 executives and managers from firms with annual revenue of $250 million or less to see how CFOs are managing current conditions while improving their profiles and expanding the reach of the finance department. Here are the results of our poll.
The CFO Role Is Expanding
CFOs’ influence has grown in recent years as a result of difficult economic situations.
- 87% of executives and managers outside the finance team say the finance team is more important now than it was prior to the pandemic.
- Working in finance is becoming more difficult as the role of the finance group grows in importance. Almost half of the finance executives (48%) and 68% of finance managers report that their jobs are more difficult now than they were in 2019.
- CFOs are spending more time talking and coordinating across the organization as they take on more comprehensive duties. 57% of finance leaders, for example, claim they currently spend substantial time meeting with executives outside of the financial department.
CFOs Must Improve Communication and Management Skills
Senior executives want to see enhanced communication and management abilities as CFOs gain more authority and influence.
- 40% of non-finance executives and managers say their company’s CFO is not an expert communicator, and 35% believe their CFO is not an expert at team management.
- Most finance executives struggle with communication and management abilities. Only 35% of employees love communicating the company’s story using financial data, while 22% assign this job to others. Furthermore, only 31% of CFOs enjoy mentoring finance team members, while as many, as 30%, relinquish this job.
As businesses continue to navigate uncertainty, senior executives are asking CFOs to be more vocal and collaborative.
Finance leaders must not only give data on corporate performance, but also provide context to help all employees understand the implications of the figures, describe potential future situations, and identify methods the organization can use to win.
The most successful CFOs will step beyond their comfort zones and embrace technology and automation to manage day-to-day activities, freeing up time to cultivate in-demand soft skills.
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