5 Skills Tomorrow’s CFOs Will Need to Succeed

Besides all the accounting skills they learned in school, tomorrow’s CFO will need to have sharp business acumen.

As Workday finance writer Steve Dunne observes, “Once considered a numbers-only role, finance is now balancing traditional responsibilities with the growing demand for data-driven analysis and insights, risk management and other key business functions.”

The shift from number cruncher to analyst and strategist is nowhere more clearly seen than in the percentage of chief financial officers at America’s largest companies that are CPAs. Where half were certified public accountants in 2014, last year only 36% held that certification.

“It’s almost ideal now to have a businessperson who happens to have a strong finance background,” says Barry Toren, a financial officers practice leader. “They need to have a nimbleness and an ability to deal with ambiguity.”

In a global survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants, a majority of the management accountants said the role of CFO had already evolved to give them “leading responsibility for business strategy formulation.”

After marshaling the evidence to show how the role of the CFO is changing, Dunne details five skills “that finance needs in order to become the strategic guide the C-suite requires”:

Diversification — Pointing out that “data and actionable insights are now fundamental to business success,” Dunne says CEOs want their finance leaders to have both accounting skills and “wider operational backgrounds and a broader mix of business experience.”

Data science familiarity – “CFOs and finance teams will need to understand how to harness data — beyond the numbers — to explain why strategies are the right ones, and to explain the reasons and context behind those decisions.”

Technology understanding – “Finance teams will increasingly use advanced analytics to run predictive models and develop better forecasts. Understanding technology and systems — and whether they are capable of enabling greater efficiencies, agility, and insights — will be critical.”

Better collaboration with CIOs – “Finance’s journey to become a more strategic function will depend a great deal on its ability to find the skills to allow it to embrace digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. That requires a shift to more technical skills and better links with IT leaders to bring together the two functions more effectively.”

Ethics and trust – “The ability to apply an ethical lens is a strong attribute of the CFO, and the finance community,” writes Dunne.

Calling the past year “socially, politically, and economically transformational,” Dunne says the challenges have also made it an “opportune time for the office of finance to have an impact, with CEOs increasingly looking to the finance function to help shape business direction and strategy.”

Photo by Keren Levand on Unsplash

How to Answer Salary Expectations
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

How to Answer Salary Expectations

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sean Coyne
Architecture + Engineering General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sean Coyne

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Angela Singh
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Angela Singh

The Power of Work Friends
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

The Power of Work Friends

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Rachel Azzolini
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Rachel Azzolini

The Effects of Quiet Quitting
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

The Effects of Quiet Quitting

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Karen Martinez
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Karen Martinez

How to Address Strengths and Weaknesses in an Interview
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

How to Address Strengths and Weaknesses in an Interview

Green Key Unlocked: Success as a Biometric Professional
General Interest Green Key News Pharma Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: Success as a Biometric Professional

Perks of Working Temp & Contract Roles
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

Perks of Working Temp & Contract Roles

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Lindsay Smith
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Lindsay Smith

Tips for Starting a New Job as a Remote Employee
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Tips for Starting a New Job as a Remote Employee

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Kayla Jones
General Interest Green Key News Pharma Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Kayla Jones

Green Key Unlocked: Marketing Technology Consultants
General Interest

Green Key Unlocked: Marketing Technology Consultants

How to Write a Thank You Email
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

How to Write a Thank You Email

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Ben Johnson
General Interest Green Key News Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Ben Johnson

How Social Media Can Grow Your Business
Creative General Interest Green Key News Worklife

How Social Media Can Grow Your Business

How to Take Pride Beyond June
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Worklife

How to Take Pride Beyond June

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Mary Baynard
General Interest Green Key News Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Mary Baynard

Latest Blog Posts
View All Posts
How to Answer Salary Expectations

How to Answer Salary Expectations

Whether when filling out the application, or during the offer process, you will likely be asked about your salary expectations...
Read More
#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sean Coyne

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Sean Coyne

Sean specializes in construction recruitment and has several years of experience within the industry.
Read More
Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

If you’re a working professional, you’ve likely experienced the end of interview session, when the interviewer asks if you have...
Read More