The New CFO

A January 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal focused on the expanded role of Finance Chiefs. I don’t think anyone finds this surprising … CFOs have been expanding beyond finance for several years.

Most of the roles they listed are pretty common: IT, HR, Strategy / Business Development, Ops, Risk, Procurement, Supply Chain. No big surprise. What was interesting from my perspective was Customer Service (37%) and Marketing / Sales (33%) …. probably two areas that are the greatest stretch for Finance Leaders.

Typically, finance chiefs spent the bulk of their time on accounting, investor relations, financial planning and analysis. Now a different skill set is in demand, says Jeremy Hanson, a partner at recruiter Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. “There’s a distinct need today for strategic CFOs because of the uncertainty of the economy,” he says. Increasingly, Mr. Hanson conducts searches for chief financial officers who have run business units and had broader roles outside of finance. [emphasis added]

Will the ever-widening scope of responsibilities falling under the CFO make it the likely path for future CEOs? What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “The New CFO”

  1. Cindy,

    I agree with the article that CFOs are responsible for more things than just finance. The Questions are: Why are CFOs responsible for more than just finance? Why is it often that the CFO is a company’s All Round Number 2?

    The reason is simple. Contrary to the news you hear (because bad news sells), CFOs are intelligent, honest, trustworthy, reliable, and hardworking. CFOs always relish a challenge. For a CFO, not having done something before is not a reason for them not to do it.

    When you are so good, you continue to get more work.

    So CFOs, you can stop this scope creep by doing one of the following:
    • Stop doing such a great job.
    • Start saying No.
    • Start delegating more.
    • Politely ask for a raise.
    • Ask the CEO when he or she is going to retire.

    Samuel Dergel, CA, CPA
    Senior Partner & Practice Leader, CFO Search
    Website :

    • I love your list, Samuel. I bet others will, too!

      Your second paragraph sums up why I love working with CFOs. They are all that, and more!


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