What is a CFO

Depends on who you ask!

If you talk to our captains of industry from the big end of town they’ll be very familiar with what a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is. CFO’s at the big end of town are (a very valuable) part of the furniture.

If you ask an SME owner they’re likely to have not ever met a CFO, let alone employed or worked with one.

This represents a large gap in the understanding and capability around numbers between our cousins at the big end of town and the engine room of our economy - small and medium businesses.

Whilst CFOs are usually accounting qualified, CFOs and tax accountants have vastly different skill sets. It is the primary reason as to why you’d be crazy to rely on a tax accountant to do a CFO function. It’s like asking your GP to perform heart surgery. Would you do that?

In essence, a CFO uses numbers to help drive strategy. If strategy already exists, a CFO will ensure the right metrics are used so that strategy initiatives can effectively be monitored.

The way that a CFO does this is by ensuring your data (financial & non-financial) is accurate, timely, relevant, future focused and is aligned to the strategic direction of the business.

CFOs must also have the following attributes:

  1. Analytical wizardry
  2. An eye for risk and strategies for mitigation
  3. Advanced communication skills
  4. Adaptive to technology
  5. Leadership skills
  6. Industry and economic understanding
  7. Understand business drivers and non-financial aspects (sales, marketing, culture, etc)
  8. Be able to turn the complex into simple

Today, the CFO’s role is to help create a culture of growth and innovation by managing expectations between short term earnings and long term growth.

Businesses with a confident and competent CFO, who take the time to plan across all of these business priorities, are better equipped to ensure their organisations remain agile and respond swiftly to capitalise on new market opportunities and avert threats.

CFO Attributes

Get in touch with us today, And Look forward to numbers.

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