Friday, May 13, 2011

What CFOs are thinking and doing

By Mark Brousseau

Although the economic downturn caused CFOs to concentrate primarily on their steward role, the recovery has reemphasized the need to act as a catalyst and strategist, Jeff Bronaugh, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP told attendees of the Masters Session at Fusion 2011 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center Florida. Bronaugh and his colleagues Bob Comeau, national service line lead and principle at Deloitte Consulting, and Scott Rottman, principal at Deloitte Consulting, led a highly interactive discussion among attendees of the Masters Session.

During the depths of the credit crisis and recession, CFOs were spending roughly 60 percent of their time in the operator and steward roles, Bronaugh said. The increased time spent in the steward role reduced the amount of time CFOs spent in their preferred role as the strategist in the organization.

But in the wake of considerable capital-market and economic turmoil, CFOs are expected to take on broader and deeper strategic roles, Bronaugh said. CFOs are now routinely in charge of an expansive range of regulatory, governance, and strategy functions, especially investor and public relations, strategic planning, corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions.

As the economy begins to stabilize, focus for North America's top finance executives is shifting back to strategic initiatives, Bronaugh said. He pointed to a survey of CFOs conducted by Deloitte in the first quarter that showed that quality metrics, influencing strategies, and monitoring initiatives were the top three challenges of their finance organizations. CFOs cited strategic ambiguity, major change initiatives and regulatory change as their top three job stresses, Bronaugh said.

Against this backdrop, Bronaugh said there are 10 hot topics for CFOs:

1. Improving business decision support
2. Influencing business strategy and operational strategies
3. Major infrastructure and change initiatives
4. Prioritizing capital investments
5. Regulatory changes
6. Finance operating models
7. Cash is king
8. Managing finance department expectations
9. Finance talent management
10. Taxes

What are the hot topics in your finance department?

No comments: