What skills will CFOs need by 2020?

What skills will CFOs need by 2020?

The CFO must become a leader of innovation: New tech, including AI, will become a core part of the innovation strategy within businesses looking to remain competitive, and CFOs will be required to understand the opportunities presented by new tech to drive growth. By 2020, 48 per cent of CFOs are set to be using AI to improve performance.

CFOs must embrace big data: According to a report by the ACCA and IMA, the CFO and finance team is set to be at the heart of the data revolution. In order to make sense of the large volumes of data the world will be generating by 2020, CFOs will need to be able to accurately interpret data to generate quality, actionable insights for CEOs and board-level decisions.

The CFO must manage risk under scrutiny: As tech grows and presents more complex risks tobusiness, expectations ontheCFO will be high. They’ll be required to implement and manage cutting-edge risk management processes within the finance department and business as a whole. A proactive approach towards threats will be key. One report by NJAMHA showed four in ten finance chiefs currently own or co-own cybersecurity responsibility within their organisations.

The CFO must prepare talent for the future: Prepping talent for a finance role was once the domain of HR, but in order to prepare new employees for the future of finance, CFOs are going to be required to increase involvement to ensure new employees can multitask, show technical competence and handle business strategy. Around 42 per cent of CFOs are also prioritising soft skills as a key element for future hires.

The CFO must be a leader in a rapidly changing workplace: With the consumerisation of real estate becoming a global trend, more businesses are choosing an agile approach to office space to expand into new markets, reduce costs, increase networking opportunities and improve staff happiness. Tied into this, the modern CFO will need to develop leadership skills to not only manage talent but also implement development strategies that work across remote teams with geographic and language differences.

James concludes: “Today, the role of the CFO has evolved from financial expert to a multidiscipline strategist. In addition to traditional accounting and finance responsibilities, by 2020 research shows the top priority for CFOs will be keeping pace with technology and harnessing big data.

“Nowadays, CEOs expect CFOs to have an impact on business direction and strategy more than ever before. And while the question of who owns analytics is still an open question across sectors, according to a report by Deloitte, finance is the area most often found to invest in analytics at 79 per cent, and CFOs can use it to bridge the gap between strategic and operational decision-making.”

By James Booth, chief financial officer at Instant Offices

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