What skills will the future CFO need?

From Cfo.com: The future CFO needs to be a thought leader who fosters an open and collaborative culture to build next-generation practices. “That means empowering the team and giving them more control over the day-to-day finance operations,” says Anthony Coletta, CFO of SAP North America.

To succeed in their new leadership roles, senior finance executives need to be adept at interacting with people inside and outside of their organization. “There is a huge shift in how the CFO spends their time,” Coletta said. The new brand of finance leader must position themselves as an ambassador of innovation by having an open dialog with sales, marketing, IT and other stakeholders.

The future CFO will be an architect of growth and value creation, according to Coletta. “Finance has an impact at every step of the value chain which requires building bridges across the organization and across various finance functions.”

One area where modern CFOs are leading is talent acquisition to foster the next generation of leaders. “I spend a good portion of my time mentoring and encouraging members of the finance team and ensuring that we hire or promote the right people,” Coletta noted. A successful finance team will include people with different backgrounds and demographics, but also a diversity of viewpoints.

Going forward, CFOs will also interact more frequently with those outside of the organization to understand and improve their connection to the finance function and the business overall. “I spend way more time with partners and customers in order to improve those relationships and understand their business imperatives and how finance can better serve their needs with innovative solutions,” Coletta said.

Coletta offers this advice as CFOs shift leadership styles:

Focus on the culture, not solely on optimizing processes
Understand the broader technology trends and how to translate into core business
Continuously invest in learning / people’s development
Be an agent of the change you want to see

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