Economic turmoil places CFOs in spotlight
Strategic involvement and risk management now a focus, finds new ACCA research
03 Jul 2009
ACCA has published new research that reveals the extent to which the economic downturn has raised the senior finance executive's profile in organisations worldwide, with more chief financial officers (CFOs) involved in strategy development and prioritising risk management than this time last year.
The research report, entitled The CFO's new environment - which ACCA carried out in association with CFO Research Services - surveyed more than 450 finance chiefs worldwide on how current global economic conditions are shaping the role and perceptions of today's CFO.
Among the findings are:
- 83% of respondents believe the CFO's role is more important than a year ago, with 70% agreeing that the finance function receives more boardroom backing now than a year ago
- 72% of respondents agree that finance now works more closely with business units in strategic planning, while two-thirds agree that the CFO is now more involved in the creation of a medium and long-term corporate strategy
- 77% of respondents say that they have either increased, or plan to increase, the amount of internal communication carried out by their company, while two-thirds say they have increased, or plan to increase, the amount of external communications
- 80% of respondents say they are taking a more active role in this field and two-thirds of respondents say they plan more education for their teams in this area.
'When we commissioned this report, we wanted to find out how the new economic environment is shaping the CFO's role and affecting the perception of their organisational value,' said Helen Brand, ACCA chief executive. 'The results show that CFOs are rising to the challenges brought about by the global economic conditions, even though some will not have experienced such a severe downturn in their careers so far.
'Organisations are looking for CFOs to bring their knowledge to bear on the wider business, using their analytical ability to understand and deal with risk, and help shape long-term strategy. It is a tall order, but it seems from these findings that CFOs are more than equal to the task.
'Despite the increasing demands on their time, we may well be witnessing a renaissance for the CFO, with their expertise extremely highly-valued and sought-after in these tough times.'
Download a copy of The CFO's new environment here.