Knowledge & Insight

The changing role of CFOs

Tue 1 July 2014

In a global economy characterised by financial uncertainty, fluctuating currency and commodity prices and an increasingly volatile geo-political climate, the challenges facing CFOs have never been greater. Rapidly changing markets, emerging risks, exciting new opportunities – the CFO must embrace them all.

A globalised marketplace

Most medium and large sized firms now operate in a global environment, whether they like it or not. And this brings a variety of new challenges, such as ensuring compliance with multiple regulatory environments, understanding and managing cultural differences, and learning how different business models operate in different markets. For the CFO of a company operating across international boundaries, these are the challenges that have grabbed centre stage, rather than the traditional disciplines of cost management and financial control.

Driving value from big data

It is rare for any company’s data systems to accurately reflect the true needs of the business, and in a rapidly changing business environment, playing catch up is pretty much the norm. Yet developments in processing and analytical technologies mean CFOs are well-equipped to play this game, and powerful predictive analytics are now within reach of more companies than ever. Yet as scenario planning and stress testing capabilities are enhanced, the question becomes where to draw the line. The ability to capture, report and analyse ever more data is of course a positive asset, yet it must be focused on creating greater value rather than simply creating a greater number of reports.

Intelligent risk management

Avoiding risk is never an option, nor should it be. Yet in a world where shareholders and board members place ever greater importance on the effectiveness of risk management processes, the ability to understand and mitigate risk has never been more critical. So it’s only right that stakeholders should seek greater transparency around the business’s strategy for delivering sustainable financial growth. And CFOs must accept responsibility for delivering this transparency and for demonstrating the viability and robustness of their strategy.

Business transformation

Driving out costs, enhancing efficiency and providing a fuller, more responsive service to the business must all be core objectives of today’s CFOs. The continual re-engineering of the finance function is now inevitable if these goals are to be achieved, which usually means a greater reliance on outsourcing and the utilisation of shared services. Of course there is always a degree of risk associated with such a strategy, yet managed properly, it can deliver not only improved efficiency, but greater operational agility too.

Talent management

One challenge shared by CFOs across the world is that of recruiting talented finance professionals. No longer solely the responsibility of HR, talent acquisition, retention and development is now firmly within the remit of the CFO. Yet developing talent across a global finance function with significant language and cultural differences brings many challenges, and it’s now common practice for finance leaders to become personally involved in mentoring and coaching programmes. Yet however well-equipped a business might be to develop existing talent, recruiting new talent requires the services of a specialist executive search firm.

CFO executive search

The evolving nature of the finance sector makes financial management executive search and CFO recruitment something of a challenge. Stone Executive is an experienced financial management executive search firm with an outstanding track-record in CFO executive search. Our team of seasoned financial management headhunters have a deep insight into today’s finance recruitment marketplace and boast a professional network that spans diverse organisation and industries.

Well-respected CFO headhunters, they are ideally-placed to identify and attract the finest talent in the UK and beyond.

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