CFO – THE PARADIGM SHIFT
The pandemic has literally metamorphosed every job role and the CFO has been no different. But what we find here is that because of the precarious nature of finances of large numbers of companies, hitting bottom lines, there was a dire need for a proactive CFO, lead to a paradigm shift. Today, he does all what he has been doing pre-pandemic and a variety of other jobs; giving serious attention to human resource welfare to merger and acquisitions to a totally different type of budgeting, financial planning and monitoring revenue stream on a real time and dynamic basis and the like. He was even supposed to get well endowed with emotional intelligence, super-fast. That the pandemic rocked the businesses is what we have all seen, adding incredible pressure and workload to the already strapped CFO. Unlike the earlier avatar today, he has become a part of every business activity of company’s and his survival.
CFO’s acumen has been put to very serious test during the pandemic, in a variety of ways, today at the pandemic’s fag end, he is being put to test in a different way. He has already taken the company through the phases of survival and sustainability to recovery. Now he has to guide the company to growth and development in a scenario, never faced by him earlier. The pandemic experience would be of some use, as a rear view mirror, what has to be clearly deciphered is what will help the company thrive in the years ahead. So to say, both recovery and growth might not happen in the traditional way, any more. ”The traditional role was of a “fiduciary game keeper”, but the position now is more often viewed as a trusted advisor of the CEO.”
CFO, traditionally, remains embroiled in figures, questioning and demanding a lot of neatly arranged data, for his decision making. Today’s business environment, which does not replicate the past in any way, a heavy reliance on past data to support decision making, would not be prudent from the perspective of either quality or speed or both. What pandemic taught the CFO is the need to learn decision making under uncertain and ambiguous circumstances. Given this fact of being the North Star, today what is left of the copybook finance? We are in the days of the playbook now. A recent article in Forbes, looks at the strategic component of the CFO, as the co-pilot of the CEO, deeply traversed by digital transformation. Business sustainability is the cardinal principle of business, which needs to be embedded in his mindset.
Away from for the financier responsible for technical and analytical reports, the successful CFOs of the Covid-19 era, became an integrating figure among all teams. Being in the thick of digital transformation and forced to find resources for it, he learned the trick of the tech trade, on his base acumen of finance. An immensely workable model. Data became his new tool as it keeps getting generated on a dynamic and real time basis, giving him the capability to analyze and decide on a near continuous scale. The bonding of the C suite team has also seen tremendous transformation. The drudgery of accounts and its updation became the cloud ERP’s job. Now a CFO controls all his disparate locations at ease. All the time needs to be utilized to improve business at subset of business and finance. Data patterns / predictions /gaps open up the third eye of the CFO. Scenario modelling helps him to get a peep into the future.
A CFO IS A FINANCIAL PERSON WITH A GOOD COMMERCIAL MINDSET, NAVIGATING SUCCESSFULLY THROUGH DIGITAL AND BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION, FULLY ENABLED BY DATA.