The CFO’s role has undergone significant transformation over the past decade. Gone are the days when CFOs focused only on providing accurate numbers to the organisation. With business and operating dynamics shifting, today’s CFOs are required to become more strategic, moving away from the role as financial partner to a more strategic partner to the CEO
In the present day, the role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is undergoing a remarkable transformation driven by the ever-evolving business landscape, technological advancements, and shifting societal expectations.
Madhavan Hariharan, Group CFO and Head of Strategy at CK Birla Group, passionately underscores the multifaceted nature of today’s CFO role. He said, “This period is a blend of exciting opportunities and formidable challenges. The CFO’s position has become more dynamic, offering avenues for growth while simultaneously posing complex obstacles.” According to Madhavan, two pivotal components define a CFO’s job: a growth-oriented mindset and unwavering resilience. He introduces the intriguing concept of the ‘art of the possible,’ underlining the importance of strong technical capabilities for CFOs to excel in the current financial landscape.
Jyoti Prakash Gadia, the Managing Director at Resurgent India, delves into the core elements that shape a CFO’s career. He explains that a “CFO’s knowledge and professional network are the cornerstones of their success.” A continuous learning approach suggests that a CFO should refresh their knowledge every three years, all the while nurturing and expanding their valuable professional connections.
Rajeev Gupta, the Chief Financial Officer at L&T Technology Services (LTTS), emphasizes the growing significance of diversity and inclusivity within the CFO’s role, especially when engaging with US clients. He points out that clients from the United States now demand data on inclusivity, gender equality, the inclusion of differently-abled individuals, and ethnic diversity in the workforce, so it automatically clicks in when we recruit next time. Rajeev stresses the need for CFOs to champion and implement these inclusivity measures when recruiting and shaping the workforce.
Deepak Goyal, the Global CFO at EPL Limited, sheds light on the evolving skill sets essential for modern CFOs. He mentions the challenges of staying current with ever-advancing technology and the art of influencing stakeholders. He also expresses optimism about the present era, highlighting that everyone is learning together. This underscores the importance of continuous adaptation and growth.
The overarching message from the panel discussion is clear: the role of CFOs is rapidly evolving. It requires embracing a growth mindset, demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges, staying updated with the latest knowledge and technological trends, advocating for inclusivity and diversity, and effectively influencing stakeholders. In the dynamic contemporary business landscape, CFOs need to be adaptable and committed to continuous learning to succeed in their roles.