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5 Tips for the High Performing CFOs 

Jan 15, 2018 4:18:08 PM

In a world full of disruptive changes, it is the responsibility of the CFO to protect the organization against the threats, nurture the opportunities and build up the organization’s competency.

Traditionally, the financial roles were considered more transactional, rather than analytical or strategic but that’s clearly not the case anymore.

Today, CFOs play a more influential role than ever before and contribute substantially to key decisions as a part of the C-suite. Financial commentators even go as far as to say that CFOs are like the CEO’s wingman, so as to assist him or her to make tough decisions and act as an anchor. While that’s last part debatable, there’s no doubt that CFOs get relied on heavily in today’s world.

This means moving beyond exclusively managing costs and stepping into the territory of strategic planning. Having spoken to modern CFOs with a lot of weight on their shoulders, we decided to share how they are keeping up with the changing circumstances and increasing expectations. Specifically, we talked about how it’s now possible for them to turn threats into opportunities to have a greater impact on the growth of their business.

 

1. Say YES more often

Yes, we decided to start out with this! Finance executives are notorious for saying the word “no” way too often. While it’s necessary to be a pillar of stability, CFOs often end up being roadblocks to key growth plan due to their reluctance to take risks. Avoid constantly saying no and don’t overuse that word, as a general rule!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the next related advice.

 

2. Increase your Risk Appetite

It’s not safe to take the safe approach anymore, so let go of that comfort zone, it’s time to face your worst fears and conquer them. As cheesy as that sounds, that’s the one advice that can change 2018 for you! Risk aversion is the riskiest decision you can make for your business this year. Instead of the traditional approach of seeing only threats and keeping the bank vault shut, the CFO must also be able to appreciate the upsides of the risks.

Why this advice? And why now?


3. Analyse Real-Time Data 

We live in a data centric world, there’s just no way around it! With AI powered softwares a click away, there’s no reason you should deprive yourself of the resources of vital information. Knowledge of how to use real-time data can help you make dynamic decision like you never could before.

  • You can experiment with new growth strategies
  • You can suggest improvements to the existing framework.
  • You can identify areas of disproportionate cost to value added and take appropriate measures to fix it.
  • You can empower other teams with your insights based on data.
  • You can integrate efforts with other CXOs to enhance partnership initiatives.

You can suggest additions to this list, with your own experience. Let’s hear it!

 

4. Constant Feedback Evaluation

Your job doesn’t just end at inputs at strategic meetings! An exceptional CFO would outshine others by making sure that strategies suggested and approved by the team are being implemented as planned. Being in sync with the vision and mission of your company can give your a heightened sense of direction of implementation. Analyze the data and make sure that the strategies are attaining their said target.

What if they’re not?


5. Be the Business Strategy Leader

You must be prepared to halt or change plans, if they’re not working out. Don’t shy away from added responsibilities. The present business climate doesn’t support the concept of departments anymore. Today’s CFOs command more control and authority due to their enhanced judgement and their analytical ability. No one has the resources to identify the opportunities as well as you do or the managerial insight needed to take calculated risks. Make sure you’re prepared to switch the plan off or change the course to change that potential failure into a new opportunity.

It’s essential to collaborate with other teams! Get out of the mould of a finance executive and be the business leader - that’s what leading CFOs have in common throughout the world.

As a great business leader, you can take credit in your company’s wins but also take responsibility for the losses.

Leading CFOs today are constantly looking out for opportunities and to keep up you’ve to develop a certain degree of a risk appetite. It’s not a realistic expectation to make significant progress with the traditional approach of risk aversion.

We, at Fyle, empower our users with easy to access, automatically compiled expense reports to help you make decisions and grow your businesses to new heights. Start a free trial or request a demo, so that we can introduce you to the new standard in expense management.

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If you liked reading this, you may also like The CFO's Mandate For Expense Management.