As I embarked on my journey as a Head of Finance earlier this year, I envisioned it to be challenging. What I learned is something vastly different and very refreshing.
A typical CFO, I thought, is supposed to take care of only Accounting, FP&A, treasury, corporate development, taxes and compliance but to my pleasant surprise there is a completely different side to it. A CFO is now supposed to assume the COO, CCO, CIO, CPO, CDO and CSO roles on a consistent basis.
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Collaboration Officer The CFO is now called upon to execute strategies set by the board/management team. That means collaborating across the organization and setting the big picture and goals for every department. The CFO is also now responsible for delivering results on a day-to-day basis.
Chief Information Officer The CTO should focus more on the product and execution of the engineering team and not on the job as CIO. As the landscape moves to cloud, it is getting easier for the CFO to assume this role. The CFO should understand and integrate all the critical systems to facilitate a single source of truth.
Chief Data Officer There is data everywhere especially with the advent of big data analytics. A CFO is supposed to simplify, convert and interpret data into real actionable insights. The CFO needs to understand and own not just financial but also sales, marketing, product and other operational KPIs.
Chief People Officer Hiring and retaining talent has always been important. The CFO is now being constantly asked to talk to critical hires very early in the interview process for giving comfort. The CFO should also constantly keep the employees updated on the company’s plans and prospects. The CFO should also make sure that every department has enough bench strength to keep going in case of some unforeseen critical departures.
Chief Strategy Officer A CFO need to the big contributor to the Sales and Product strategy. The CFO should also be able to marry finance, operational and external data(if any) into actionable strategy.