In the move towards sustainable organisations the role of the CFO is evolving beyond finance to include sustainability and social aspects of their operations
New research by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and BDO, the international network of public accounting, tax and advisory firms, has revealed how the role of the CFO is growing to include driving business decisions and reporting on the non-financial areas of their operations.
Over 100 CFOs and business leaders from around the world took part in roundtables and in-depth interviews to contribute their insight into how the traditional role of the CFO is changing, resulting in the report ‘Chief value officer – the important evolution of the CFO’.
To be successful and sustainable, businesses and other organisations increasingly need to combine economic, environmental and social equity. Those that don’t, face risks and their value can diminish – there is a very strong link between value creation and strategy. Using the breadth of drivers (financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social & relationship and nature) to generate benefit for a wide range of stakeholders creates value. With a focus for many organisations on purpose and value, contributors were asked to consider whether there is a trend to asserting the need for a new role of chief value officer and whether this a role that the CFO is already fulfilling.
The resulting three key findings from the report are:
Helen Brand, ACCA chief executive, noted: ‘We already know that CFOs are increasingly acting as strategic leaders and advisers in their organisations. The CFO role is one that has moved significantly from the traditional view, while retaining the core responsibilities. Now there’s a real opportunity for them to satisfy the value agenda and evolve the role for the next generation of CFOs.’
Carly Bleathman, Partner – Business Services and Outsourcing at BDO UK said: ‘Our research highlights the exceptional role that CFOs are playing in developing their organisations. We commend the role that these individuals play and how they are truly embracing the broader value agenda. I know from my own experience that CFOs are truly chief value officers’.
Albert Lopez, Global Head of Business Services and Outsourcing, BDO Global said: ‘There are many CFOs from across the world who are embracing this wider concept of value and our research highlights many positive stories. Embracing the sustainability agenda and delivering against it is a key role that our profession must play to help ensure that we have a positive future.’
Author Clive Webb, Head of Business Management at ACCA said: ‘Creating sustainable organisations is a key priority for all organisations and CFOs have a fundamental role to play in delivering this. The perception of the CFO and the finance team needs to change from being Dr No to Dr How. It is pleasing to see how many finance teams are working towards this agenda’.
For more information, read the full report at our website.
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ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants.
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BDO is an international network of public accounting, tax and advisory firms which perform professional services under the name of BDO. For the year ended 30 September 2022 BDO (including BDO’s exclusive Alliances) announced a total combined fee income of more than US$ 12.8 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 12.1%. BDO public accounting, tax and advisory firms provide professional services in 164 countries, with 111,307 people working out of 1,803 offices worldwide.
BDO LLP (UK)
BDO UK provides tax, audit and assurance, advisory and business outsourcing services to companies across all sectors of the economy. Our people are specialists in their respective fields and have a proactive, flexible approach to helping businesses overcome the challenges they face. We aim to be as innovative and entrepreneurial as the companies we work with, 95 per cent of whom say they would recommend us. Operating out of 18 locations across the UK, we cover all of the major business centres while offering local expertise to local firms. Our growing business now comprises approximately 7,000 people who are encouraged to be themselves, bringing personality and authenticity to our professional environment. The core values which underpin our culture – including being responsible, acting with integrity and working collaboratively – are reflected in the behaviours of our people and our CSR policies. www.bdo.co.uk