The role of the CFO is continuously evolving and in many organizations it is not well defined. A lot of CFOs therefore struggle to understand the critical nature of their job and adopt a conservative approach of narrowly defining their roles by duplicating the job of their controllers.
The CFO role is unique and powerful enough to get involved with any part of the organization. Generally, CFOs can initiate projects on their own that benefit the business and at the same time substantially expand the scope and responsibility of their own role. It is an opportunity as well as a challenge.
If you are a CFO with narrowly defined scope, here are 7 strategies you can apply immediately to upgrade and redefine your job:
1. Stop doing your controller’s job:
Majority of CFOs in mid-size organizations still do their controllers’ jobs fearing that there may not be much work for them if they let controllers do their entire job. Reality is quite the opposite. You need to first offload the low level tasks and create capacity in order to add high value work.
2. Offer ‘Finance for non-Finance’ training:
To strategically re-position your personal brand in the organization, conduct yourself a ‘Finance for Non Finance’ training for your management team. You will be amazed by the appreciation and recognition you will receive for doing this. As a bonus, there will be much better understanding of Finance function among your non-finance senior colleagues.
3. Get involved or initiate the strategy process:
As CFO, you are in the best position to define, clarify and enhance the value creation process for your business. The easiest and most effective way for CFOs to get involved in strategy process is to initiate a Balanced Scorecard implementation process. Attend a Balanced Scorecard training and deploy the idea.
4. Support new business development:
If there is no formal function or role exists for new business development in your organization, offer support to your CEO to get involved into this. It will help you to expand your influence into a line responsibility as well as let you test your marketing skills.
5. Restructure or refinance:
As a CFO you need to continuously monitor the supply and cost of capital. No one else is more qualified than the CFO to identify a deal and the timing to optimize the capital structure of the company. If you are able to strike an opportunity to execute an IPO for your company, it will add substantial value to your credentials and skill set.
6. Lead Mergers & Acquisitions:
CFO needs to be the brain of the CEO when it comes to the mergers and acquisition deals. Identify the potential opportunities, get involved into the due diligence process, negotiate the deal. This experience will substantially enhance your market worth.
7. Enhance or upgrade IT:
Whether IT function reports to the CFO or not, it’s important for the CFO to closely monitor IT investment as the long term productivity, efficiency and performance of the entire organization depends on it. Evaluate the current structure and identify gaps. The high performance business applications of today like CRM generally warrant a higher ROI. Become a champion, lead the change.