Five Ways the Most Effective CFOs Drive Growth

 In Perspectives
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Accenture estimates that 60-80% of backward-looking accounting activity can be automated with limited to no human intervention. #CFOreimagined

In today’s business environment, Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) serve in many roles including financial gatekeeper, protector, spokesperson, and strategist. It’s not enough to simply manage the company’s finances anymore.

In fact, 81% of CFOs are focused on identifying and targeting areas of new value across the organization. The most successful CFOs are also looking for new ways to embolden their financial team to provide more and better insight across the business and drive top-line and bottom-line growth.

Acting as a trusted advisor is one of the most important things a CFO can do to help the organization adapt to rapid change. A recent Brainyard article notes, “Successful financial leaders are strategic partners to the CEO and Board; taking an active role in developing both long-term and short-term goal setting.” To achieve this status, CFOs must build trust with effective communication and a deep understanding of business functions. Discover five ways the most successful CFOs are driving growth:

Communicate effectively with stakeholders

As the overseer of financial health, there are numerous individuals both interested and invested in how the CFO is performing. The CFO is on the hook to skillfully interact and communicate with these stakeholders. Transparency is crucial to building trusting relationships with the CEO, business unit leaders, board members, regulators, and company employees. A recent Forbes article also points out that effective communication is a key driver of success because, as the organization’s “internal conscience,” CFOs must ensure business initiatives are aligned to create value.

Act with emotional intelligence

According to a recent article in US News, “When it comes to understanding the essential traits of successful leaders, there’s an emerging consensus that emotional intelligence, the ability to control one’s emotions and handle relationships with empathy, is at the core.” Emotional intelligence (EI) is especially important for CFOs in order to effectively collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders.

As noted in articles by Brainyard and the Wall Street Journal, EI is a skill that can be improved and trained. In an interview with the WSJ, Pete Shimer, CFO of Deloitte, recommends CFOs participate in group activity to enhance EI skills.

Lead and nurture a great team

CFOs need a skilled team behind them to be successful. Winning the war for top financial talent requires CFOs to actively participate in workforce strategy including making investments in training and development programs. Additionally, many skilled workers want to know their job has meaning and purpose, so it’s crucial to help them connect to the organization’s vision. The most successful CFOs are providing employee perks like coaching, mentoring, leadership, and career path development opportunities. Additionally, employees respect leadership presence and derive value from a culture of continuous feedback.

Leverage data and analytical insights

To successfully drive growth and provide effective leadership, CFOs must also maintain their financial expertise. The most effective CFOs are implementing new systems and technology; always seeking new and better ways to get timely information about profitability, cash flow, and operational efficiency. As the financial gatekeeper, protector, and strategist, CFOs are leveraging technology solutions to:

  • Make smarter, more informed decisions.
  • Make real-time immediate adjustments.
  • Improve audits.
  • Prevent small problems from becoming major issues.

Prepare for digitalization

Though CFOs of SMBs are not yet ready to make the jump to advanced technologies and digital transformation, they are “energized by the potential.” Results from Accenture’s recent study reveal that 77% of CFOs believe the finance function should be proactive and connected in its operations across the wider business ecosystem.

Eliminate blind spots, better manage performance

Get the support you need to align your company’s vision with technology that provides instant insights into all corners of your business. WhiteLight Group  can be a strong partner in helping your organization gain full visibility so you can manage confidently and focus more on growing your business.

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