The CFO’s Toolkit: Choosing The Right Tools To Support Growth

Arlen Shenkman

If the only healthy business is a growing business, then to be a successful CFO, your agenda needs to be tied to enabling and accelerating that growth.

The role of the finance executive has inarguably grown to be more strategic. CEOs are expecting finance executives to help create greater value for the business. Granted, we still need to be experts in fundamental areas such as financial regulation, international accounting, capital structures, and cost control. But we must also layer onto those capabilities a deeper understanding of business operations, the drivers of performance, and ultimately, the company’s overarching strategy to grow.

Supporting the growth agenda

Growth has to come in a wise, metered way that is well-planned and formed with an understanding of your overall strategy. In this blog series, I’ll be discussing the various tactics you can employ to achieve well-planned, profitable growth. These include:

  • Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
  • Investments in organic growth
  • Investments in channels
  • Global expansion
  • Capital structures

Choosing the right tool for the job

I like to think of growth tactics as tools. Each trade has tools at its disposal. A carpenter will use a miter saw to precisely cut wood. In finance, we have tools to precisely support corporate objectives.

Our job is to choose which tool is best suited to accomplish the desired outcome. We make this choice based on many factors – an understanding of corporate objectives, having a global perspective, and applying a deep understanding of the market and opportunities –  to name a few. But our experience, skill, and insight also come into play.

CFOs who are more adept at wielding these tools will produce better outcomes. In this way, we become master craftspeople in our own right. If we’re successful, we produce results in new business models, higher revenue, and greater market share.

Minimizing risk and enjoying the rewards

There are risks and rewards associated with any growth tactic. But by asking the right questions, analyzing the right information, and collaborating and negotiating effectively, we can minimize those risks and enjoy the resulting rewards.

Feel free to share your views with me about this topic in the comments below. I also welcome your suggestions for topics that you’d like me to address in this series.

To learn more about how finance executives can empower themselves with the right tools and play a vital role in business innovation and value chain, review the finance content hub, which offers additional research and valuable insights.


Arlen Shenkman

About Arlen Shenkman

Arlen Shenkman is the CFO for SAP North America, overseeing the financial activities of Canada and the United States, including forecasting and planning, driving efficiencies, and ensuring the overall financial health of the region.