Redefining the Role of CFO

blog banner-Redefining the Role of CFO

After a one-year delay, Tokyo finally hosted the 2020 Summer Olympics. Fans cheered on their nation’s star performers, hoping their team would set new records and bring home the gold. Each athlete was part of an elite team. They realized the importance of being surrounded by a dream team; everyone had a unique role to play in securing the win.

If we unpack the business lessons that can be gleaned from these superstars, we will find many valuable nuggets. Employees – like athletes – have their own lane. And each one brings something to the table. To be successful, an organization of any size must surround themselves with players who have the strengths needed to create a dream team.

One essential team member that is noticeably absent from many organizations is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Many businesses think this position is one that is too expensive to fill. Business leaders place it on the back burner, with the full intention of hiring one when they can afford it. But can they afford not to? Without the guidance of an expert, they make financial decisions on their own and venture leaving a lane empty.

The Expanding Role of a CFO

In the world of sports, regulations must be followed – and the same is true in business; it can get extremely complicated with an ever-changing landscape. Thus, CFOs must be current with the latest rules and regulations from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), IRS, and global economic news, especially as to how it has altered most organizations’ playing field.

Below, we will explore how the CFO plays a greater role in management and technology adoption than they did previously.

Optimize the company’s financial performance. The CFO takes a magnifying glass to inspect revenue and expenses. This encompasses far more than overseeing accounts payable, payroll, and scrutinizing the cost of doing business; the CFO analyzes and validates reporting, liquidity, and managing the company’s return on investments. This individual plays a critical role in ensuring the financial decisions made are aligned with the organization.

Communicate: A CFO must ensure that all reports are completed timely, with full transparency. He or she has a visible role in the organization, and provides financial reports regularly to leadership, and builds relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Forecast: Any CFO can look at records and easily state the company’s past financial performance. But to project where the company is headed financially requires superb strategic skills. An astute CFO will have the ability to analyze multiple likely scenarios and make smart business decisions. The CFO realizes we are living in a new normal and can examine data, incorporate the variables of an unpredictable business environment, and deliver good outcomes.

Agility: While today’s CFO is adept at handling the tactical and strategic facets of a business, this individual is also able to pivot on a dime. Being flexible, they are open to and awaiting change; they anticipate another unexpected wrench to be thrown into the mix.

Embraced Technology: The acceleration of technology has empowered CFOs to have access to real-time, secure, accurate data. Automation is the path forward and CFOs who have adapted to the latest ERP implementations, will become far more valuable and relevant within the organization.

In the current business environment, a CFO is not only a financial leader, but also a strategic partner to the CEO in making key decisions – internal (organizational structure & culture, risk management) as well as external (customers, vendors, regulatory compliance, etc.).

Businesses Can Afford an Outsourced CFO

Let’s revisit the dilemma that haunts small to medium sized businesses. They know they need one but can’t afford one.

The good news is: you do not have to wait until you are ‘big enough” to afford an in-house CFO. You can leverage the knowledge and expertise – today – by partnering with an Outsourced CFO team.

The benefits are immense, but here are a few to consider:
● Affordability = cost savings
● Improved time management
● Boost Efficiencies
● Reduce risk of fraud
● Enhanced controls
● Comprehensive and flexible Skill set

A winner’s circle or a victory lap isn’t reserved only for athletes; businesses can achieve their own kind of success worth celebrating.

Talk to Astute today to discover how you can get on the right track.

Ashwini Vasudeva

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