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

Bar chart showing the results to the question "In your opinion, what are the top management skills needed by future CFOs?" as follows leadership skills 65%, communication skills 60%, strategic skills 53%, change management skills 24% We asked "In your opinion, what are the top management skills needed by future CFOs?" The most popular answer was "leadership skills."

About Jamie Lyon, lead author, ACCA