Technology evolves, new-age companies take birth and business dynamics change. Accordingly, the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) also changes. They don't just focus on financial reporting, book-keeping and recording, budgeting, fund management and statutory compliance. These are the minimum skill sets expected from a CFO. Today’s businesses need much more than a stereotypical number-crunching expert. They need a strategic stakeholder.
7 major reasons executives should consider doing a CFO Leadership Training or a Strategic CFO Course:
1) Upgrade and upskill
There have been technological advancements like artificial intelligence, ERP platforms and machine learning tools. They have made loads of financial data available. Finance executives and CFOs can use this data for effective decision-making and advanced strategising to benefit their organisations.
Thus, finance executives should have the required skill sets to make sense of the data. They need to know how to make the best use of it.
Since finance executives are primarily from accounting and finance backgrounds, their thought processes tend to be linear. It is a great quality to address structured problems. But, today’s business environment is ever-changing and organisations are becoming complex. The challenges and issues faced by these organisations are also becoming complicated. In many instances, the data required to address these complex issues is inconclusive or incomplete. This is where the new skill sets are put to the test.
2) Hone leadership skills
In a typical organisation, the CFO is the most important leadership position after the CEO. CFOs need to lead from the front. They should be able to spot and create growth opportunities for their organisations. They should take financially prudent decisions. They should also effectively communicate with non-finance colleagues and other stakeholders within and outside the organisation.
Also, the CFO hires and retains good resources to create a strong talent pool. It will ensure the finance function has a proper backup and transition plan with the right resources at the right levels.
With training, finance executives can further develop and sharpen their leadership skills. It is critical for today’s businesses.
3) Develop strategic thinking
The design of a business strategy and its execution can make or break a business. CFOs assume a critical role here. They are responsible for prioritizing strategies and ensuring proper funding to execute them.
As an executive ready to take on bigger challenges, one should know how to develop a proper predictive model, analyse emerging trends and present non-financial information. Also, it is critical to know how to communicate business strategy and achievements to investors and other external stakeholders.
Timing and strategic thinking can boost the prospects of any business.
4) Develop operational capabilities
A thorough knowledge of the industry and a deep understanding of the business model allows executives to see the reality past data. They can analyse the data and develop predictive scenarios for proper execution and sound decision-making.
CFOs need to steer an ongoing process to develop and identify means for growing the top line and the bottom line. They should be able to use advanced analytical and benchmarking techniques.
5) Develop and implement an effective control framework
Globally, regulatory agencies are slowly and steadily tightening the noose to prevent fraud/wrongdoings. This safeguards the interests of all stakeholders in today’s dynamic business environment. CFOs must ensure proper checks for risk assessment and mitigation. The organisation must comply with the regulatory framework of its country.
Thus, executives must know how to manage risks and develop strong control systems.
6) Develop behavioural competencies
CFOs must have the right attitude and behaviour for such a responsible role. They have to make their presence felt by stakeholders. So, they must have good communication skills and persuasive powers. They must also develop a curiosity to know and learn about new things. It adds to their knowledge and enables them to make informed decisions.
7) Look at the big picture
CFOs need to gauge the ground situation through a bird’s eye view. They need to look at the KPIs, link the pieces of information depicted by the KPIs and make data-driven decisions. Analytical thinking helps them look beyond numbers and into the future. It helps them develop business strategies and evaluate the associated risks.
There are various sources and avenues available which provide both online and in-person training on CFO leadership while at the same time financial markets certification courses can also help improve the skillsets required for the CFO role.