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!
3 thoughts on “Operational CFOs”
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!
Thanks for your comment, Ken. I totally agree. Operational CFOs are going to continue to be high-value candidates.
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. .