FCs shun top spot as job spec toughens

The findings, in a survey of FCs mainly from the FTSE 350 by
& Young
, also identified a big shift in the role of the

Jon Stanton, partner at E&Y, said: ‘To all intents and purposes the
financial controller has become a financial operating officer ­ they are taking
on aspects of the CFO role from treasury to tax and investor relations.’

A total of 82% of FCs said that their job had become more challenging in the
last five years, fuelled by regulatory changes, budget and resource constraints
and plans for corporate expansion, E&Y said.

The vice captains of the finance function are now devoting more time to
raising the profile of the division internally and recruitment efforts, as
regulation, risk and control have been now put on the back burner. Paul
Blackburn, FC at GlaxoSmithKline, said maintaining compliance still required
energy and oversight, there has been a return to ‘normal operations and business
as usual’.

FCs were asked how they thought their finance function was perceived by the
rest of the business. The general consensus was that the finance functions were
‘very good technical experts’ but not ‘particularly helpful, solutions-based or

In E&Y’s opinion, this was a hangover from the days when the FC role was
seen only as a ‘scorekeeper’, focusing on book keeping, but the FC job as a
whole has been forced to move with the times.

Mark Freebairn of executive search agency Odgers Ray and Berndtson attributed
the change to FCs being entrusted with more responsibility by their FD bosses,
especially in terms of internal finances.

‘The role of the FC used to be one of the least exciting roles within a
finance function but the changes that have happened over the last few years have
made it much more stimulating and business critical,’ said Freebairn.

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