The New CFO

In a recent interview with Steve Abramowitz, Regional BDS Director Mid-Atlantic of BDO and CEO Insider, we found an interesting perspective for the CFO of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“CFOs have never had it harder than they have it now. Between Sarbanes-Oxley, ERISA, compensation, transfer pricing, and a myriad of compliance regulations, so much oversight is needed that it is driving the way companies are making decisions. . CFOs are now more than ever being asked to play a larger role in leading their organizations, boards, and company strategy. To be an effective and successful CFO it is requiring new skill sets that were not required before or trained on years ago. In the past, the CFO was not a leader but rather a number cruncher. In order to keep up the level of new reform, new tax laws, new regulations and new tax compliance, they must have new training and resources. The resources available to provide the help and guidance needed to improve and increase skills are not available yet to the extent needed for the CFO at an association level, business community or advanced education level. We are only just seeing it dribble in from the private sector and some associations. The myriad of resources for CEOs, leadership models, books, etc is in the hundreds of thousands. However, the leadership models being practiced, taught or espoused today are hierarchical and focused simply on the leadership rather than on the organization. There’s no organizational model that is built around the CFO to address or support the CFO’s success. The CFO’s needs to always be thinking about improving their skills and their knowledge otherwise they will be replaced. It’s drawing many organizations from a jog to a walk to a stand-still. The accountability and responsibility that has been driving companies is slowing them down and distracting them from growth by requiring skills and expertise they don’t necessary or immediately have, but need in order to be successful. This is going to curtail growth and will create a big problem for CFO’s. CFO’s that have been or are currently unemployed are not going to be able to meet the rising demands to get new jobs. They will need increased education and resources. This has the potential to paralyze organizations that are hiring CFO’s and needs to be addressed before it impacts the entire organization and the leadership function.

It is going to take a lot of change. CFO’s will need to educate and reinvent themselves and organizations and leaders will need to be proficient to help them do this. To be continued…”


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