CFO role expands into strategy and management: report

CFO role expands into strategy and management: report

SINGAPORE - The role of the chief financial officer (CFO) has expanded in breadth and depth beyond the traditional role of financial stewarding, a survey by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) has found.

A total of 315 respondents, including 144 CFOs and 171 CFO aspirants, in Singapore who took part in the survey said that the CFO role has evolved to include strategic business planning and risk management as well.

These changes are a result of the CFOs' evolving role as a key partner to the CEO and a reflection of a changing economic and regulatory environment, ICPAS said in conclusion.

About 90 per cent of respondents said that a key role for the CFO is now providing strategic support to the CEO on top of their traditional role as financial stewards.

Most CFOs in large corporations (88 per cent) rated strategic management as an essential performance objective, a sign that CFOs are increasingly expected to actively contribute to shareholder value creation, the report said.

Findings also showed that most CFOs ranked C-suite skills such as leadership, communication and strategic business planning as more important than technical skills, which are considered foundational skills.

CFOs surveyed also revealed that they expected their successors to be responsible for financial reporting. As a result, technical training in accounting and finance are deemed highly important in CFO aspirants.

One cause of this was CFOs have become more reliant on their aspirants to support them on financial reporting issues so as to enable them to focus on key strategic issues.

Among the respondents, 104 were from public-listed companies while 39 were from organisations with annual turnover of above $1 billion.

This includes 144 respondents holding the position of CFO and equivalent and 171 CFO aspirants. In particular, 104 respondents were from public-listed companies while 39 respondents were from organisations with annual turnover of above S$1 billion.

ICPAS CFO Committee Member and Group Chief Financial Officer, of JTC Corporation, Mr Ho Tuck Chuen, says: "CFOs today operate in a different environment given the state of flux businesses find themselves in, due to the shifts on the economic, business and regulatory fronts.

"The CFO must do more to help corporations thrive by leveraging this knowledge and further develop their competencies to become effective strategists to partner the CEOs in driving the organisation forward," he added.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

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