Putting Your CFO Skill Set On Steroids

Neil Krefsky

In the wake of digital everything, CFOs are going through somewhat of a 4.0 moment of their own. The growing use of automation, digital disruption, and increased business partnering are nudging the profession to evolve. It might be outside your traditional comfort zone, but overall this is a good thing, and represents a significant professional opportunity.

One of the most interesting outputs of these evolutionary changes is the rise of the role of Chief Finance Transformation Officer. If you’ve not yet heard of it, you soon will. In fact, depending on where your organization is on its digital transformation journey, you may already be performing elements of this role already.

“Chief Finance Transformation Officer” sounds like a bit of a mouthful. But if you think about it, against the backdrop of disruptive new business models and new routes to revenue, it was an inevitable transition of a new set of skills that must adapt and map to the new requirements of the business.

This role takes the latest innovations in business and technology and applies them to a company’s entire finance function. The objective, of course, is to transform a tactical finance function into one of the most innovative and strategic departments in the entire company.

Unprecedented data access for in-the-moment decision-making

Naturally, this includes making the existing responsibilities of the traditional CFO function as efficient as possible. But the real game-changer is the step change it brings in your ability to shape and guide business strategy. The ability to perform in-the-moment decision making based on live access to enormous amounts of information across the entire enterprise is something unprecedented for both your predecessors and for the profession as whole. Your peer group is the first generation of CFO management with the ability to significantly extend and elevate the role to new strategic heights. From a professional development perspective, it’s a unique opportunity.

The result is the ability to translate information into actionable business guidance with the evidence to prove it – instantly – using predictive insight-to-action and real-time reporting. In this sense, CFOs have the ability and opportunity to act as the ultimate counselor to the CEO. Think of it as your CFO skill set on steroids.

Of course, to achieve this level of effortless insight, you need to digitally transform your company and your underlying systems into a live business. That means a flexible, agile infrastructure with a digital platform at the core.

Digital business models are not only accelerating the pace of transactional business, but also the speed with which opportunities evolve and evaporate. We know from numerous studies and analyst reports that agile businesses grow faster, and are better positioned to leverage these market opportunities. But it’s only recently that the industry has started to pay more attention to the revised skill sets of the C-suite required to execute with fluency and accuracy in the new business landscape. For CFOs, the prospects have never been brighter.

More information about “A Day In The Life of a Chief Finance Transformation Officer” can be found here. To learn more, check out the 9 trends shaping the finance profession in the report Thriving in the Digital Economy: The Innovative Finance Function.

Neil Krefsky

About Neil Krefsky

Neil Krefsky is Head of SAP Finance and Risk Product Marketing at SAP. He is responsible for the development and execution of the product marketing strategy for SAP's solutions for the finance area including: SAP S/4HANA for Finance as well as applications for financial planning and analysis, accounting and financial close, treasury and financial risk management, collaborative finance operations, and enteprise risk and compliance.