For tomorrow’s CFO the leadership handbook is being redrafted but not entirely rewritten. They look set to lead their finance organisations though volatile, uncertain and a continuously changing environment.
The career story of today’s CFO is the classic finance career. However, the business environment of the future will continue to change, shaping a different finance career experience.
The advent of rapidly changing technology will have significant implications on how business is done, and how customers are served. The rebalancing of economic power from west to east will bring inevitable longer-term consequences, not least where business activities are focused.
Global risks impacting business
Businesses have to contend with greater exposure to risk due to economic turbulence and low-growth patterns. Amid broader social, demographic and political changes on the world stage these risks will inevitably impact the business landscape too.
New stepping stones emerging
The traditional linear routes through the finance organisation to CFO will apply less in the future.
New stepping stones to the CFO role will appear.
A rebalanced role
The CFO role will rebalance away from traditional stewardship towards being a catalyst for creating value.
The CFO’s capabilities, skill and career experience will change. Future CFOs will require:
- broader leadership capabilities beyond financial strengths
- deeper business and sector specific experience and knowledge
- capability to lead major transformation and change projects across functions
- skills in working across different culture and international environments
- communication and influencing capabilities
We asked "In your opinion, what are the top management skills needed by future CFOs?" The most popular answer was "leadership skills."
"Through all of this complexity and volatility, tomorrow’s CFO must still support the business with effective finance leadership. Some things don’t change that much. But the context and factors shaping the finance leader role will continue to evolve."
Prepare to be a finance leader
The top 10 requirements for Tomorrow’s CFO:
1) know your finance fundamentals
2) strategy and commercial experience
3) predictive insights through analytics
4) risk experience
5) be a deal-maker
6) closeness to stakeholders and customer focus
7) focus on the management skills that matter
8) preparation for more regulation and broader reporting
9) an understanding of the impact of technology
10) reflect the diversity of global businesses.