Today’s CFO has evolved from financial controller to corporate stakeholder driving strategy and business value, industry commentators claim.
The remarks were made during the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia’s Accounting Conference on 15 March, where former and current CFOs as well as industry experts came together to discuss the trends, challenges and opportunities facing CFOs today, along with the critical role reporting is playing in the wider business community.
Technology, risk management, mergers and acquisitions activity and leadership have collectively transformed the CFO role, former CFO of Brambles, Greg Hayes CA, told attendees in his keynote address.
“The CFO now has to be influential in creative for the business without losing financial control,” he said. “The expectation is nothing can slip up on the finance side of things but they need to be adding real value and managing stakeholder expectations.”
Others claim market volatility had also contributed to the changing focus, with Evans and Partners head of research, Paul Ryan, pointing out reduced growth opportunities in recent years had put pressure on CFOs to deliver on corporate strategy.
So how do CFOs demonstrate this business investment? For the institute’s head of reporting policy Kerry Hicks FCA, it comes down to strong partnership with the CEO to implement strategy.
“CFOs need to add value through a focus on processes, risk, strategy and partnering with the CEO to broaden skills across the whole business,” she said.
Other speakers at the conference included the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s senior executive leader for financial reporting and audit, Doug Niven FCA, and Ernst and Young’s executive director Teresa Clauson.
The Accounting Conference moves to Melbourne on 22 March, then Brisbane on 9 May and Perth on 27 May.