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What to Expect from a CFO

This generation of CFOs take on leadership roles but are effective in teams

Looking back on another financial crisis - another generation of finance executives who proudly bear the scars of managing organisational and personal stress in delivering survival over growth! Whose grasp of risk management is not just theoretical but practical. Who are commercially orientated but understand the checks and balances required for survival short term and a successful and growing business long term; who can operate bi-focally at a tactical or strategic level.

This generation of CFOs take on leadership roles but are effective in teams; they are intent on building a sustainable organisation, nuturing talent and developing their own teams, sometimes taking tough people decisions. They manage change - far sightedly or responsively to fastmoving markets. Often they expected to drive cost reduction. They influence spatially across theorganisation, co-pilot the Chief Executive, and communicate at all levels of financial sophistication, including the board. To do that they have to find a way of working with the Chief Executive - stowing away the ego and adapting working styles but at the same time being tough and principled. They can help the executive team and board, often a mix of non executive and executive directors, set the priorities for the business. They bring financial relevance and a performance orientation to theorganisation and drive the debate to define performance objectives and value creation.

These CFOs can maintain the control agenda through financial disciplines and effective and relevant information. They interpret complex financial analysis and help the business look forward in a disciplined way by making budgeting and forecasting effective planning tools. They take a particular interest in the capital investment programme and promote disciplines designed to support the outperformance of competitors' returns on capital. Sometimes they have to assist their colleagues understand the importance of cashflow, and the illusion of wellbeing that profits can be.

They manage the funding agenda and maintain a high reputation amongst capital providers - debt and equity. All of which requires good planning skills, endless patience, knowledge of and interest inthe business and finely honed emotional and communication skills!
This generation has to navigate today's changing and relentlessly onerous accounting and regulatory environment. They can talk cogently about tax, have great M+A experience and can influence the IT agenda - in fact turn their hand to any number of leadership roles, often in the least glamorous parts of the business and sometimes as troubleshooter.

Ian Durant, Chairman, Capco

More Stories By John Funnell

John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.

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