By Andy Burrows
This will not be news to some of you, but taking a route through Finance business partnering is now the best way to achieve your ambition of getting into a CFO role.
It used to be the case that financial control and reporting was the established path to the Chief Financial Officer’s chair. A solid Financial Controller was seen as not only the CFO’s right hand person, but the CFO’s natural successor.
This, I believe, is not the case any more.
And the reason for writing an article about this is that it helps in guiding your development plans and career plans. At its most basic level that equates to thinking about the job moves you choose, and the courses you choose to take, after completing your accountancy qualification.
But, what’s changed to give rise to these changes in career paths?
Firstly, the CFO role has become more about strategic partnering with the CEO and the Board, to maximise the performance of the...
By Andy Burrows
I do quite like that saying (originated by Peter Drucker), “culture eats strategy for breakfast!” I’m not quite sure what it means exactly... but it conjures images of tasty eggs, bacon, sausages, and maybe a couple of slices of toast, so it makes me smile!
But what of culture and/or strategy in the Finance function?
I’m going to argue in this article that Finance is increasingly under pressure to change. Or, more positively, we’re presented with an opportunity we should be reaching for more confidently than we are.
And that’s the opportunity to be involved in business decisions, the opportunity to drive business performance through helping to improve performance management.
The irony is that it’s the CFO who often stands in the way of the Finance fulfilling its potential to help the business and create value. And that’s because the CFO often has cultural blind spots and strategic blind spots.
By Andy Burrows
Let’s talk about how and why the role of the CFO has changed over the last 30 years, and why that puts Finance in a critical position within the business.
You know, ever since I qualified as an accountant in 1995, I’ve noticed magazine articles, courses, seminars, books, all talking about the changing role of the CFO (or Finance Director as we used to call it).
And I’ve always been a bit cynical. I didn’t really know what it was all about until I sat and thought about it recently.
You see, I think there’s a misunderstanding in the media, even in the financial press, about what is driving any changes in role, if there are any.
The media portrays the CFO’s role changing because of Finance technology. In the past it was all about EPM (Enterprise Performance Management), BI (Business Insight) and ERP. Nowadays it’s all about RPA (Robotic Process Automation), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Blockchain, apparently – you...
By Talita Ferreira
I no longer set New Year’s resolutions. I think it is far better to set intentions.
If we follow the latest developments in neuroscience, we can rest assured that our brain, if used correctly, can be a very powerful tool. Although, we currently only use a fraction of its capability and get caught up in the noise of our self-doubts, limiting beliefs and repeat dialogues.
Setting an intention is key to bringing about a change or a desired state or goal. The various synonyms for intention are purpose, aim or plan. Setting intentions can play a key role in activating our subconscious mind to help bring about a goal or desired result. The word ‘intent’ originated from the Latin word ‘intendere’, which means to stretch towards.
My first encounter with intention was a few years ago when I read the book ‘Synchrodestiny’ by Deepak Chopra. I was trying to find my purpose in life. I knew I wanted to leave corporate life but...
By Andy Burrows, 22 October 2018
During my career, I’ve sometimes worked at the top level in Finance, and had the privilege of sitting alongside other functional heads in the “Senior Management Team” or “The Exec”, or even “The Board of Directors”.
Obviously one of the chief ways we stayed in touch with each other, and with what was going on, was to have “Management Meetings” on a regular basis. Normally, the main meeting would be once a month, centred around the management accounts. And sometimes we would also have weekly, less formal meetings.
When you’re more junior, you see the FD or the CFO going off to these meetings. And you have a picture in your mind of what goes on. You picture high powered discussions, with quality arguments and analysis, talking strategy and making sensible decisions.
The reality is often quite different. The meetings are often frustrating, boring and nowhere near as useful as they should be....
By Andy Burrows
[Published 23rd July 2018, edited 20th September 2018]
To be successful the future CFO will need to be all about mindsets and methodologies.
My presentation at the AICPA-CIMA Finance Transformation conference in London this year would have been entitled, “the DNA of the future CFO”.
And since I now can't do the talk because I'm having cancer treatment, I'm letting you know my basic thesis, right here!
But am I out of step?! I mean, surely the future CFO is going to be all about digital technology, automation and predictive analytics? Well the Finance Transformation conference is hearing plenty of perspectives on all those things from people more qualified than me!
Would you like to hear a different perspective? I knew you would! Here we go...
So, here’s what I mean by mindsets and methodologies. Four essential ingredients for being a successful CFO in the future. Four parts to the DNA of the future CFO.
By Andy Burrows
[First published 28 February 2018]
“What are the things I need to do to become a CFO in the future?”
“How can I make the transition from Financial Controller to Finance Director?”
These are the kind of questions I get from people from time to time. They probably ask me because of the breadth and length of my experience.
So, I thought I’d write something that gives a few pointers around how I would answer those questions.
[BONUS: I've created a free workbook to help you come up with your action plan from these tips.
It's called the CFO Career Action Plan Workbook.
Get it by clicking here!]
So, without further ado, here are those pointers…
I’ve seen several career-minded people fail because they spent so much time and energy thinking of plotting their career that they didn’t do a good job. And that’s a shame.
Careers are made up of levels and steps. And you don’t normally get to...
By Andy Burrows
[First published 14 June 2018]
The title of this article may sound strange in an age where Finance business partnering is one of the megatrends in Finance. But bear with me. There’s a good reason why I’m going to argue that “the future CFO” should do less business partnering, and not more.
I’m going to start by arguing that, contrary to popular belief, the CFO’s role has already changed such that they are now seen as THE Finance Business Partner. There’s no need to berate them any more for being mere beancounters and scorekeepers. As a generalisation, especially in medium to large enterprises, most CFOs are seen as the CEO’s right hand, and it’s those two roles together that face the business owners.
But I’ll also argue that this has made CFOs so busy that they’ve become disconnected from the Finance function. They now almost look at Finance from the outside, as just an overhead to cut wherever...
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