A CFO who doesn’t lead on strategy is not the right CFO for your business. The role of CFO is one of the fastest evolving positions within the c-suite leadership team. As companies adapt to the changing working environment and the post-pandemic challenges, the strategic role of CFO is becoming more important than ever before.
When you’re growing your c-suite team, a strategic CFO is one of the first appointments that you should make. After all, a CFO is often referred to as the CEO’s “right hand”. You want to invest in a CFO with the strategic skills and knowledge to positively impact every aspect of your business – from auditing and financial strategy to e-commerce.
Whether you’re hiring a part-time CFO, interim, or full-time CFO, strategic skills should be top of your list of desirable skills. FD Capital is the leading boutique financial recruitment agency in the UK and specialises in connecting growing companies with strategic CFOs to take their businesses to the next level. They’re sharing the reasons why your business needs a strategic CFO as part of your leadership team.
The Strategic Role of a CFO
Your CFO plays an overarching role in your business’ strategic process, particularly if you don’t have a chief strategy officer in your leadership team. They’ll play a leading role in the formal strategy process, including documenting decisions and establishing timelines. As your CFO will have close links with your board, they sit in an ideal place within the company structure to lead on strategy.
The modern CFO – but its nature – wears many hats. A strategic CFO will be a leader within the company as the second in command to the CEO, providing analysis and insight to help ground the company’s decision-making process. They’ll also be expected to become a creator of strategic policy by developing an environment that promotes innovation and strategic thinking by becoming a critical thinker and thought leader within the company.
Within the company’s strategy, the CFO will also act as an adjudicator and orchestrator for strategy, deciding which strategies to prioritise and where to allocate financial resources. Similarly, they’ll take on the role of implementing strategies by deciding on KPIs, budgets, and financing options. Finally, the CFO will act as a communicator of the company strategy by engaging with stakeholders.
The CFO as a Strategic Leader
When you’re hiring for a CFO, you want to identify a strategic leader who will ‘buy into’ the concept of the business and its wider vision. The CFO will work closely with the CEO to achieve the company’s purpose and vision through an effective strategy that touches every aspect of the business. Your CFO will implement an organisational structure that creates an effective working environment that maximizes productivity and delivers actionable results.
Part of the CFO’s responsibility as a strategic leader is to make data-driven decisions that allow the company to adapt to the changing environment. Companies that had a strategic CFO were able to respond quickly to the challenges posed by the pandemic and stay ahead of the curve by grounding their decision making in data-driven information and market research.
You want to work with a recruitment agency that takes a tailored approach to their service when hiring a strategic CFO. Every company has different needs – and its own vision. A recruitment agency like FD Capital will start by identifying your company’s specific needs before beginning the recruitment cycle.
Delivering cost-effective and cohesive strategies
One of the most important strategic roles of a CFO is to identify areas of potential financial mishaps within the company’s strategy. Your CFO has a relationship with every department in your company to reduce unnecessary spending and create a cohesive strategy across your company that is cost-effective.
If you’re a start-up or SME, delivering a cost-effective and cohesive strategy is what can give your company a competitive advantage. A strategic CFO will often find themselves becoming an adjudicator within the company by deciding where the budget should be allocated for the best results.
Data is one of the most crucial aspects of every business. A CFO is responsible for the financial oversight of your business and oversees the curating and analysing of data to help provide context for strategic decisions. Part of this responsibility is to create KPIs that will track the company’s growth and help identify potential areas of cost-saving by providing accurate financial forecasting.
A CFO as a Strategic Analyst
The modern CFO is largely accepted to be a company’s leading strategic analyst. This role has evolved from the fact that the CFO is one of the few leadership positions that sees every aspect of the business. They understand the good and the bad that’s happening behind the scenes. A CFO’s role as a strategic analyst is grounded in their financial forecasting that feeds into every aspect of the company’s decision making, including presenting cold hard facts to help ground decision making in reality.
You also want to consider your CFO as someone who provides disruptive thinking to your strategic process, providing an alternative view to that of other c-suite leaders. They serve to provide both a forward-looking function and a real-time analysis of the company’s financial situation with their strategic insight.
We should also look to CFOs as creators of strategy who can present new ideas to the business that are grounded in forecasting and financial analysis. The CFO’s overview of the business gives them a unique insight into areas of potential advancement or where changes need to be made.
For your business to be successful, you need a strategic CFO who is commercially switched-on to the company’s decision-making process. A successful CFO will positively influence the strategic process and create more cost-effective and efficient strategies. When you appreciate the cross-functionality of a CFO, you can better utilize their strategic potential.
Throughout the recruitment process, you want to focus on finding a CFO who can become a strategic partner for the CEO. Start your recruitment process for a strategic CFO today by contacting FD Capital Recruitment at www.fdcapital.co.uk or by calling 020 3287 9501.