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The new CFO mandate: Prioritize, transform, repeat


Amid a raft of new duties for CFOs, our survey suggests that finance leaders are well positioned to lead the C-suite agenda by championing transformations, digitization, and capability building.



If you wanted to validate the old adage that the only constant in life is change, the results from our newest McKinsey Global Survey suggest you need not look any further than the CFO role. (1)

In the two years since our previous survey on the topic, CFOs say the number of functions reporting to them has risen from about four to more than six. What’s more, the share of CFOs saying they oversee their companies’ digital activities has doubled during that time. And many finance leaders say they are being asked to resolve issues in areas that are relatively new to them while continuing to mind traditional responsibilities, such as risk management, that remain business priorities.

Responses indicate that the opportunity for CFOs to establish the finance function as both a leading change agent and a source of competitive advantage has never been greater. Yet they also show a clear perception gap that must be bridged if CFOs are to break down silos and foster the collaboration necessary to succeed in a broader role. While CFOs believe they are beginning to create financial value through nontraditional tasks, they also say that a plurality of their time is still devoted to traditional tasks versus newer initiatives. Meanwhile, leaders outside the finance function believe their CFOs are still primarily focused on and create the most value through traditional finance tasks.

How can CFOs parlay their increasing responsibility and traditional finance expertise to resolve these differing points of view and lead substantive change for their companies? The survey results point to three ways that CFOs are uniquely positioned to do so: actively heading up transformations, leading the charge toward digitization, and building the talent and capabilities required to sustain complex transformations within and outside the finance function.

Changing responsibilities, unchanged perceptions

The latest survey results confirm that the CFO’s role is broader and more complex than it was even two years ago. The number of functional areas reporting to CFOs has increased from 4.5 in 2016 to an average of 6.2 today. The most notable increases since the previous survey are changes in the CFO’s responsibilities for board engagement and for digitization (that is, the enablement of business-process automation, cloud computing, data visualization, and advanced analytics). The share of CFOs saying they are responsible for board-engagement activities has increased from 24 percent in 2016 to 42 percent today; for digital activities, the share has doubled...

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Laurent Leloup
Fondateur Finyear (Finance Daily News)
Fondateur Chaineum (ICO & STO Advisory)
Auteur de "Blockchain, la révolution de la confiance"

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Chaineum Capital Partners - Blockchain Investment Banking
Chaineum Capital Partners est une banque d'affaires indépendante spécialisée blockchain.
Chaineum Capital Partners is an independent advisory firm for the blockchain industry.
Corporate finance advisory & services: due diligence, valuation, ICO, STO, fundraising, capital raising, M&A.
France (Besançon - Paris) + Switzerland (Neuchâtel - Geneva) + Worldwide Partners.

Mardi 11 Décembre 2018
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