DECEMBER 20, 2019
The Expanding Role of the CFO
By Mark Loehrke, Editor, Financial Managers Society
While the many FMS member CFOs we’ve interviewed over the years for the Member Spotlight feature in the old Financial Managers Update newsletter and forward magazine may represent different types and sizes of institutions, one through-line we’ve seen across the board has been the almost unanimous notion that their role as CFO in a community institution has changed dramatically – and continues to change – with each passing year.
So it hardly counts as breaking news when yet another story about the changing nature of the CFO position comes along. But every new take on this phenomenon nevertheless generally has something worthwhile to share about the ongoing transformation, including this roundup of the new responsibilities, new demands and new visibility throughout their organizations that CFOs must grapple with in this new reality.
• CFOs need to go beyond the numbers to identify strategic growth opportunities for their institutions, which will likely mean embracing an outlook that involves much more creativity and problem-solving than the job long demanded.
• Even while keeping an eye on fiscal prudence, today’s CFO needs to consider a broader perspective when it comes to the potential benefits of investing in the people, training and technologies that will ultimately deliver against the institution’s long-term goals.
• The numbers still matter. While it’s good to be open to a more free-flowing approach to problem-solving, the CFO’s office is still where the buck needs to stop and financial pragmatism continues to reign.
• For those CFOs with an eye on an eventual ascendance to CEO, know that keen attention to data and details will certainly come in handy for the top job, but there are plenty of other skills and characteristics that may need some work – namely, collaboration, innovation and intuition.