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How CFOs are rethinking leadership in the intelligence age

In an increasingly digitalised economy, business today is vastly more sophisticated than it was just five years ago. The volume of data companies are now able to analyse is enabling a new level of intelligence that was previously unthinkable. The same technology that allows enterprises to become more intelligent is also greasing the wheels of how jobs are performed and how we communicate at work.


According to the Aspen Institute’s recent white paper Blurred Lines: Understanding the Value – and Values – of Success in the Digital Economy,” customers, employees and stakeholders expect a personalised relationship with the leaders, brands and companies they interact with. This means that companies must adapt quickly – as customers expect to be able to speak directly with an organisation’s leaders and its employees. The same level of accessibility rings true for how teams desire to communicate internally at the workplace as well. This level of on-demand access is influenced in our lives as consumers, in large part due to the “Amazon effect.” Today, processes and experiences thought to be available in B2C organisations have become pervasive in B2B companies. This increased level of transparency into the business is forcing CFOs to rethink their approach to leadership and adapt to new ways of conducting business.


CFOs are no strangers to change. The role has gone through immense transformation over the past decade, moving from a focus on spreadsheets to a focus on strategic decision making and now into corporate steering helping the business functions to make the right decisions. In fact, data from a Korn Ferry study found that the most critical skills for a chief financial officer today are general management (27 percent) and strategy (26 percent); meanwhile, traditional skills like controllership and risk and compliance were cited as the most critical to success by just seven percent and two percent of senior executives respectively. CFOs that have long seen their role as tracking performance and efficiency, now must understand the top-to-bottom strategy and be creative about understanding how to measure success…read more

21/12/2018 - This guest post was written by Henner Schliebs, global vice president ERP and Finance Solutions, SAP

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