Operational CFOs

For the past couple of years, I’ve suggested that CFOs with a proven track record and deep understanding of operations would be the most in demand and valuable CFO candidates of the future. Is the current financial crisis driving that train … even faster? If so, it is potentially great news for strategic CFOs with a solid business understanding of how operational functions interplay with the numbers. It is also potentially devastating for CFOs who have positioned themselves as primarily numbers guys.

A snippet from a recent article at CFO.com, “Future Tense” …

Some finance departments are beginning to incorporate methods such as scenario modeling, sensitivity analysis, and contingency planning to help CFOs think through a wide-ranging set of potential situations, thus avoiding a monocular view of what's ahead. They are refreshing forecasts more frequently, homing in on a handful of measures that have a financial effect on the company (so-called driver-based forecasting), and doing more to provide synchronous information flow between finance and operations.

Today might be a great day to have lunch with the COO!

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3 thoughts on “Operational CFOs”

  1. I beleive the most effective CFOs are the ones that have a deep understanding of operations. It is not enough to know the accounting and finance side of bsuiness. A true executive over those functions needs to understand the entire business and make strategic decisions that better each area of the business!

  2. In some sense CFOs have replaced COOs. As a Client Partner at my Firm, I now end up interacting with CFO much more compared to 5 years ago.
    So, you are partially right – CFOs need to upgrade their skill repertoire. .


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