How to become a CFO in this digital age
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Have you ever, by chance, been to a business or accounting school wishing you could become a CFO? You are always told that it is a complicated job and you will have to learn a lot of things, right from accounting to finance. You need to crunch numbers all the time and know about all the taxation and allied subjects. After all, a CFO’s primary responsibility is to handle an organisation’s overall finances.
But these days, almost everything about being the CFO has changed. You do not need to balance the books all the time. CFOs these days are incorporating strategic intelligence from their experience and also from external sources to make business decisions.
There is data to back this. The AICPA (Association for International Certified Professional Accountants) and ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) jointly released a report analysing the important qualities of the top financial honchos in the digital age. The organisations which had a digitally proficient finance team have had positive growth in their annual revenue returns.
So, read on to understand the process of becoming a CFO.
What Do You Need to Become A CFO In the Digital Age?
The requirement for becoming a CFO in the digital age applies to all financial professionals. If you want to be a part of the core financial team, be it the CFO or any other member of the team, it is important to shift from ERP software to cloud ERP as the first step.
The CFOs should therefore be experienced in using new technologies for computing data and insights quickly and efficiently to capitalise on the opportunity. It is all because of persisting competition which has been driving financial organisations to incorporate cutting-edge technologies with innovations like data visualisation dashboards which provide real-time analytics. Next-gen cloud ERP suites do not require the finance staff to have in-depth IT skills. At the same time, knowing how to use these digital ERP suites incorporates some small IT capabilities in the professional using it. This helps the finance team to accelerate and automatically execute certain tasks like generating an online report sharing and mailing it to the rest of the staff or vice versa.
Leading financial teams in an organisation have built their foundations on three pillars –
- How well they are equipped to assist an organisation in overcoming financial hurdles during a crisis
- Identifying new opportunities for investments for an organisation
- Help an organisation grow and flourish while facing intense competition in the market
The role of the CFO has also evolved according to the changing role of the financial organisation. Apart from costing and accounting, finance must add value to the ever-expansive opportunities in the market.
A small use case in this regard will be leading restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut moving from a 20-year-old ERP system to lighter and cloud-enabled ERP suites. This strategic move helped them beat their competition, thanks to them going digital before their competition.
The move was rewarded in multiple ways. The company could reduce costs significantly because it could downsize its workforce. They could also streamline their operations by building intuitive dashboards for making faster decisions with the help of real-time analytics.
Upgrading Skills as a CFO Is Extremely Important
Cloud-based automation has been making the life of finance professionals quite easier these days. They help in automating most repetitive manual work. That is why financial professionals, CFOs, in particular, upgrade their skills to stay relevant in the job market. With the advent of data science and machine learning, IoT and blockchains, CFOs need to understand the basics along with next-level predictive analysis. The best CFOs prefer cloud applications with the incorporation of advanced fintech technologies that are already present in the market.
So, to become a CFO and attain success, you need to be well-versed with these new technologies.
Now, to help you traverse this road, you can opt for strategic CFO courses from leading management schools or other institutions that have such programs to help you improve your professional qualities.
In this regard, you can take admission for a chief financial officer course from leading educational institutions like Imarticus Learning. The best thing about this course has been developed in partnership with IIM Indore. So it is bound to be useful and effective.
You will be able to acquire skills that are relevant in the employment market in the given niche. This course is taught through an online mode, so you can study from any corner of the country.
To sum up, to become a CFO, you need a lot more than just technical knowledge. You need to be an analytical, quick thinker and, most importantly, stay calm even in the most pressure situations to find the appropriate solution. Hence, besides acquiring all the technical knowledge, work on yourself and develop these soft skills to shine as a professional.