New generation of CFO driving broader view of performance & purpose

New generation of CFO driving broader view of performance & purpose

New research from business advisory firm BDO and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has revealed how the role of the CFO is expanding to include driving business decisions and reporting on non-financial areas of operations. The research also shows a clear shift towards CFOs being tasked with leading the sustainability and social agenda, as companies move towards making their operations cleaner and greener.

Over 100 CFOs and business leaders from around the world took part in roundtables and in-depth interviews to share first-hand how the traditional role of the CFO is changing.

Nick Fox, Business Services Partner at BDO in Australia, facilitated the Australian round-table in Sydney and said a very clear theme was the additional value coming from the CFO role, beyond managing the financials of a company.

“Successful and sustainable businesses increasingly need to combine economic, environmental and social equity, and the best CFOs of today have expertise in all three areas. From our discussions there was agreement that a successful CFO today is more of a Chief Value Officer, adopting a growth mindset,” Nick said.

“It is an evolution from someone who traditionally would maintain the financials of the business, to someone who is driving a range of performance based decisions, and leading a company’s environmental and social strategy and initiatives. This led to a discussion about the future – is there a need for a new role of Chief Value Officer or is this something that today’s top CFOs are already fulfilling?” he said.

Nick said it was clear from the research that CFOs are increasingly adopting a value-centric approach in their work, and this represents an evolution towards encompassing the chief value officer role within a more traditionally financially focused remit.

Our research shows that across the world, and right here in Australia, there are many leading CFOs already taking on this broader Chief Value Officer role, embracing and driving the sustainability agenda and developing their companies for a positive future,” Nick said.

“What this suggests for the development path for aspiring CFOs is that getting an increasingly broad range of experience, which embraces both formal and informal learning activities, specifically through working in different business units beyond finance, is important. There is opportunity here for professional bodies and practices to provide this type of learning and development, custom-made for this new breed of CFO,” he said.

Read the story in Accountants Daily: CFOs deal with more than just finances: BDO | Accountants Daily