CFOs ‘natural deputies’ to business chiefs

CFOS MAKE natural deputies for their CEOs, according to a new survey, but this does not necessarily mean the finance chiefs want to step into their leader’s shoes.

A workplace study by recruiters Badenoch & Clark found the traditional image of a number-crunching CFO is no longer accurate. Instead, “commercial acumen, strategic thinking and convincing communication skills” are the new currencies for the modern CFO.

The finance heads view themselves as drivers of business growth, while at the same time, harnessing some of the skills of top CEOs in order to develop a company and “take it to the next level”.

Despite making ideal deputies, few displayed a desire to take up the top role. Equinitl finance head Alasdair Marnoch said: “The CFO must have the capability and confidence to step into the CEOs shoes – but taking such a role permanently rather than deputising is a big step and will depend on the personality of the person and the business. It’s not necessarily a natural fit.”

A number of CFOs said their natural role is as the business’s conscience, rather than its risk taker. This view was recently echoed by CIMA chief executive Charles Tilley, who described CFOs as the ethical wardens of their companies.


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