The CFO role is continuing to evolve with additional responsibilities and that the global pandemic has brought these changes on faster than expected, said ACCA and the Institute of Management Accountants recently when releasing results of a jointly conducted survey.
The survey respondents included1,152 ACCA and IMA members, as well as global roundtable participants that included CFOs and CEOs.
IMA and ACCA said they developed six hypotheses for survey participants to consider for their organisations’ CFO roles:
- The CFO will become predominantly focused on stakeholder and investor management rather than safeguarding and reporting
- The CFO will have a leading responsibility for business strategy formulation, validation, and execution
- The focus of the role is shifting from principally historic-based cost control to growth optimisation
- The role will encompass measurement of all aspects of the strategic objectives of the organisations
- The CFO will provide the greatest value to the organisation through forward insight rather than retrospective reporting
- CFOs will increasingly have the CEO role as the next progression in their career development
Respondents most strongly agreed with the hypothesis that CFOs will play an increasingly important role in strategy execution, ACCA pointed out.
The least supported hypothesis was the career progression of the CFO towards a CEO role though most felt that this trend would increase, ACCA added.
“Our research concluded that CFOs are no longer viewed solely as finance leaders,” said Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and policy. “They are being looked to for governance and risk management, business change, business resilience, and technology advancement.”
- 72% of respondents felt that the role of the CFO will either “increase or increase significantly” in importance over the next three to five years.
- 82% of CEO respondents felt that the role of CFO would increase or significantly increase in importance
- 78% of respondents assessed that the ethical lens was a differentiating factor for the CFO in comparison to other executives
- 68% of CEO respondents felt that people highly value the strategic insights of CFOs