Summary The transformation of the CFO role is ongoing

canada goose Why today's CFOs are focused less on numbers and more on people Matt Mani, LinkedIn Nov. 24, 2015, 10:41 AM Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat is known for leading strategy across the companies she has managed. Google LinkedIn writer Mahadeva Matt Mani published this post originally on LinkedIn. Recent in-depth interviews with chief financial officers from companies in a variety of industries revealed a set of fascinating insights. The CFO of the future is finding success by going “soft” – getting out of spreadsheets and spending more time thinking about strategy, people, and culture. Over just the past few years, CFOs in vanguard organizations have become strategic leaders. Rather than merely supporting the company’s operations, CFOs and their teams are working directly with department heads and business units to make the strategic choices that drive the best returns on investment, enhance shareholder value and long-term growth, and beat the competition. This shift requires the modern CFO to actively collaborate with all parts of the business and untangle questions such as: What is our unique value proposition? What is our market potential in each business in which we participate? How can we increase value to the customer? Do we have the capabilities needed to win? It demands that CFOs use their unique direct line of sight into the organization’s many functions—such as supply chain, R&D, manufacturing, sales, and marketing— to ensure that the company fully develops and invests in its most important (typically cross-functional) capabilities that differentiate it in the marketplace. Given these new collaboration and management responsibilities, the CFO’s old education and career track are no longer ideal preparation for the modern version of the job. The hard quantitative skills that a typical CPA or MBA candidate studies are now table stakes; more strategic abilities and soft skills are increasingly critical. Today’s CFO must be able to develop talent, build a strong team and shape a winning culture, via influencing and collaboration skills vs. via command & control. The CFO must also ensure that the organization culture is aligned with the company’s path to creating value – else all their financial and business plans risk failure. Rather than focus purely on financial outcomes, we are finding that today’s chief financial officers are most valuable when they pay attention to three important areas: understanding the value chain, shaping the culture and developing talent. Understand the Value Chain To bring out the true performance potential of the company, the CFO is spending more time understanding the end-to-end value chain, including customer needs, back-office operations, suppliers’ contributions, and competitors’ positioning. This enables the CFO to evaluate and support strategies, activities and initiatives that amplify the company’s distinctive capabilities and how it creates value. To do this well, CFOs are getting actively involved as both listeners and advisors. They and their teams are learning to work hand in hand with line leaders, getting exposure to their priorities and proclivities, their biases and beliefs—to challenge ill-conceived strategies and ideas that are unlikely to yield the desired competitive advantage or investment return. At the same time, the new CFO is out on the road more than ever, visiting customers and suppliers to understand their business models and operating dynamics. These fact-finding missions are critical to inspire new value creation ideas beyond what competitors do, because they help the CFO better link financial choices and decisions to real customer needs and operational issues. They help the CFO become a more effective strategic advisor and influencer vs. a financial performance hammer to the business. Shape the Culture Today’s CFOs cannot keep a low profile. Instead, they use their influence to help make the organization stronger and more flexible, to be more resilient in the face of shifts and disruptions. These CFOs understand that shaping corporate culture is an imperative of their role; indeed, culture is an inherent part of their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders and the board. They are not put off by culture and do not dismiss it as a “soft” topic. Instead, they embrace culture as a strategic imperative to be invested in and assiduously shaped. It starts , of course, with laying a solid foundation: ensuring that management processes and systems are sound; leading the company’s planning, budgeting, and resource allocation processes; and setting the tone and focus of business performance review sessions. However, these are only table stakes. In addition, CFOs are setting the example by encouraging open discussions about market trends and business performance, about business opportunities and risks, and, yes, about business failures — not to assign blame, but to assist in identifying strengths and weaknesses and in finding solutions for the future. They must have the confidence to accept mistakes and be a champion of the business. This type of recognition from the CFO goes a long way towards giving the organization a shot in the arm, and creating a culture of open, honest fact-based discussion and decision making. While this type of approach may seem counter-intuitive to the traditional narrative of hard charging performance reviews driven by the CFO, over time, it helps shape organizations with a healthier culture of performance. Develop Talent The leading CFOs we work with all stress the importance of developing finance team talent. They often get directly involved in recruiting; in providing formal training, mentoring, and personal coaching for promising staff members; and in rethinking the competencies and career paths required for development. They ensure that their team includes staff whose skills and experience go beyond the foundational technical skills to include strong business acumen rheingoenheim-info , leadership and communication skills as well. They emphasize with their teams the need to help position the company for future growth by thinking ahead, understanding how the entire organization interconnects and collaborating with other functions to enable company success. Indeed, they even go out of their way to share their talent with other parts of the organization, encouraging finance leaders to expand their horizons and pollinate the organization with their unique capabilities. The CFO’s personal leadership in this undertaking is crucial. Spending time with finance leaders, co-developing a vision with them, engaging them to explore their own development and encouraging them to test their leadership style creates permission for real growth and development. It builds a bedrock of durable talent who can step up to become the company leaders and new CFOs of the future. Summary The transformation of the CFO role is ongoing. Much more has to come – especially in a more inter-connected world, with nanosecond changes in the external environment. The good news though is that today’s CFO is becoming more aware, more connected and more committed to making a lasting difference for their organization that goes well beyond their own function, or the quality of their audited financial statements. Matt Mani is a thought leader in Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business. Based in Washington D.C., he is a principal with PwC US. He focuses on helping companies with strategy based operating model transformations and operational performance improvement. SEE ALSO: 7 Steps to Boost Your Confidence as a Leader Are the Best Decisions Instinctual, or Data-Driven? Here’s How Universities Can Own the Future Read the original article on LinkedIn. Copyright 2018. Follow LinkedIn on Twitter. SEE ALSO: Here are the skills finance execs need to earn top dollar at their jobs canada goose parka

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