Read this blog to discover the CFOs top priorities for 2021 and beyond
“CFO Top Priorities” would be an intriguing starting point for any panel discussion. But add “….for 2021 and beyond” to the title and you’re talking about implications more impactful than any of us is likely to have faced in our careers. Planning and forecasting take on a whole new dimension in times like these, and the acceleration towards digitalization is palpable.
“Agility is key - you can’t sit around dreaming too long.” “Even a big, multi-national corporation needs to think like a startup.” This gives a flavour of webinar discussion in which I was involved with Surin Segar, EVP at Maybank, and Ken A Ken Ajinkya, CFO-APAC Rolls Royce Power Systems. The need for the tools and attitude which go beyond traditional finance was clear from the discussion.
Here are a couple of summarized Q&A highlights:
Q: What new skills and competencies are important to the CFO now and beyond?
A: We need to do our bread and butter job, namely risk management and compliance, but we should also look to add the jam, which is found in business partnering, having the ability to “steer” the business through financial transformation. Data is the new gold: the commodity from which we can really earn money, so we need to learn how to harness it and learn from it. Don’t just focus on revenue but look for profitable business through granular data on individual operations. Focus less time on actuals and more on data-driven budgeting and forecasting, because rigorous budgeting and forecasting will generate the actuals.
Q: Where are we with modernization and transformation in the Office of Finance, and what is the path forward post Covid 19?
A: Digital disruption was already underway but has accelerated as a result of the pandemic. “Hey Siri, please close my books” might be a way off but that’s the direction of travel. There is no question that it is important to have a digital strategy, but it needs to be part of a people strategy. Our teams demand education: what is predictive analytics, what is machine learning? Is it applicable to my role? Overall there is a real curiosity about these disruptive types of technology. We need to be ready for a higher frequency of budgeting cycles. We need to understand, for example, the real of cost of building any individual model of car within a whole range.
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