January 29, 2022

Chief Financial Officer, the catalyst for business transformation

In recent years, the function of DAF (Administrative and Financial Director) has evolved a lot within companies. While traditionally his role has been to provide financial advice to managers and ensure that accounts are closed on time, the CFO is now investing in the successful transformation of his business. With the highest level of visibility across the organization, he is uniquely positioned to be a catalyst for the change that accelerated during the pandemic.

The CFO takes control of the transformation

Between 2016 and 2021, according to a recent survey by McKinsey, the proportion of CFOs declaring to be responsible for their organization’s digital activities has more than tripled, announcing a real revolution in this profession. From now on, it is common to see Chief Data Officers report directly to the financial department which becomes, in fact, the guardian of the new black gold of the company.

It must be said that the missions of the DAF have greatly expanded in recent years. A reality revealed at the height of the health crisis. At the heart of the storm, CFOs were indeed on the front line, called on to react very quickly to keep companies afloat, but also to be creative in modeling recovery scenarios. Today, more tech savvy than ever and enlightened by data, they are interfering more finely in the company’s strategy.

A real ” business partner ” jobs

Better trained, curious, CFOs work more and more often in a network and discuss with their peers to further increase their know-how. If the basic functions of finance are still present in their spectrum of intervention (accounting, compliance, legal, general services, etc.), CFOs now integrate other fields of expertise that allow them to guide the trajectory of the business. ‘business.

Support for data and automation solutions frees the function from time-consuming tasks (invoices, administrative acts, etc.) and allows it to focus on data (operational, financial, etc.). By correlating the latter with data outside the company (market, competition, etc.), the CFO extracts information and innovative business solutions, which will be very useful to the businesses. Augmented, finance thus brings tangible value to the various departments of the company (HR, sales, marketing, CSR, IT, etc.). During a recent intervention, the chief financial officer of Thalès revealed that he now spent almost as much time working and measuring non-financial and financial performance indicators, which count for assessing the social responsibility of the company today. hui at the heart of the growth of organizations. The function of CFO is thus evolving more and more towards a role of business partner and influencer within companies.

Spend less time on the past to better explore the future

The health crisis has shown that when such an unforeseen event occurs, the company can no longer count on its history to rebound. What it needs now is to be able to analyze and process data in real time, in order to be able to project itself again. To work on recovery scenarios, CFOs need time. Time that only technology can give them. However, the pandemic revealed that many companies were not or still very little digitalized.

To fulfill his new functions and go further in supporting the transformation of his company, the CFO must however delegate to the machine what concerns the events of the past, in order to focus his energy on the future. Of course, he will always have to certify the accounts, but there is no longer any objective reason for him to continue spending entire days reconciling these data by hand. To finalize its transformation, it will also have to recruit new profiles, such as data analysts specializing in finance, but also acculturate its teams to digital solutions, in order to allow them to continue to grow the finance function and to give it more and more. meaningless.

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