Ernst & Young global survey: CFO role at a turning point

The traditional role of the chief financial officer is at a critical turning point, an Ernst & Young global survey among 769 senior financial executives from more than 30 countries, including Greece, said on Monday.

According to 57% of participants in the survey, aspiring financial managers will need to develop leadership skills, ability to build efficient teams and strong relationships with management if they want to be promoted in the next five years.

These changes, according to The DNA report of the CFO, reflect the ever-expanding range of responsibilities of this position, as pressure by the digital technology, the huge amount of data, the increasingly intense scrutiny and ongoing uncertainty and volatility, continually increases.

According to the findings of the survey, the top financial executives will be characterized increasingly by more creative features, such as innovation, creativity, and emotional intelligence, so that they will be able to inspire and cultivate the loyalty of their staff. At the same time, the manner of communication should become more adaptable to new circumstances.

Digital media (from tweets and blogs to the most sophisticated channels) will become important tools of the communication strategy of a CFO with all interested parties inside and outside the company. As it is now clear that the business world is dramatically transformed, with social responsibility and sustainability becoming a priority, the design of a specific and measurable strategy by which to evaluate the performance of financial directors, will gradually burden their agenda.

The research also highlights the importance of drafting a course that covers a wide range of experience and roles in order to build skills in key areas beyond the financial, for the future of the CFO.

As the DNA of the CFOs changes, the staffing composition of financial departments will also change. Two thirds (66%) of financial executives surveyed believe that companies should look for the next generation of senior financial executives from a diverse workforce tank.

A 57% of women surveyed and nearly half of male participants (49%) believe that there are not enough women between emerging future senior financial executives. According to 62% of respondents, the top strategy to increase women promoted to the position of chief financial officer, is the “visibility of successful women in leadership positions who can serve as role models for younger members.”