Five issues are shaping the destiny of finance. Issues that will make or break future CFO success.

Volatility and risk shape the future 

The function continues to be pushed on providing the information that matters; finance chiefs see the reality of the environment and the clamour for information, but the task is more difficult in a landscape that will change quickly and where risk proliferates.

Smarter finance delivery 

In transforming the finance organisation, the future CFO team must ensure the right processes, systems and metrics are in place to aid strategy execution, deliver richer information insights and drive cost-effective and process-effective finance operations.

Value driven and data centric

In the knowledge economy intangibles such as information, branding and talent are central to future value creation for all sizes and types of businesses. Understanding how the business generates value is core to the future CFO role.

New technology frontiers

Finance leaders will need to prioritise investment in technology to drive growth. The current finance technology landscape remains overly complex and simplification is needed. Smarter CFOs recognise the limitations of prevailing technologies. They have a responsibility to ensure that social, mobile, cloud and analytics technologies become strategic tools in driving enterprise change, new business models, and improve the contribution of the finance organisation.

People matter

With changing finance delivery models and new sources of talent opening up, where will the new pool of executive finance leadership talent come from? The quality of talent available to the CFO function could make or break its future success.

Bar chart showing the top five interventions considered necessary for developing future CFOs. Figures approximated and as follows: effective succession planning 47%, exposure to coaching or mentoring practices 46%, mobility to and from finance 37%, strategic workforce planning 34%, transparency of career paths for future CFOs 31% The top five interventions considered necessary for developing future CFOs. Effective succession planning is the top intervention.

About Jamie Lyon, lead author, ACCA