You shouldn’t be surprised to discover that Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Hugh Jackman, Gary Oldman among many other Oscar-winning actors and actresses bear a grudge against Chief Financial Officers.
It’s easy to understand why. For although the likes of Streep and Oldman have achieved fame, fortune and critical acclaim, they can usually only inhabit one role at a time. They take it on for a few months and then move on to the next.
A great CFO, by comparison, is the master or mistress of multiple roles and can switch between them easily and effortlessly. What’s more, they perform those multiple roles day in, day out for weeks, months and even years.
That’s because a CFO is there to help the business owner achieve the company’s objectives by providing financial and strategic guidance to ensure it meets its financial commitments and to develop policies and procedures to ensure its financial management is sound. The Institute of Directors says the CFO is “often viewed as the member of the board who creates a solid foundation upon which a business can grow”.
It’s why a typical CFO Job advertisement features a huge list of responsibilities. These will often include the following and more:
- Providing strategic financial leadership to optimise the organisation’s medium to long-term financial performance and strategic position
- Contributing fully to the implementation of organisation strategy across all areas of the business, challenging assumptions and decision-making as appropriate and providing financial analysis and guidance on all activities, plans, and targets
- Providing robust financial reporting and analysis to the Board of Directors, Finance, Risk and Governance Board and Corporate Management Team including the provision of financial support to strategic decision-making and transactions
- Working with senior management to steer the business towards the goal of greater financial independence and sustainability
- Providing cash management – monthly cash flow reporting and long-term strategic cash management
- Overseeing the preparation of VAT and other statutory submissions
- Developing and ensuring compliance with financial policies and controls
- Presenting annual accounts to the General Meeting.
- Risk management and reporting – maintenance of the organisation’s risk register ensuring control processes are fit for purpose
- Developing an IT strategy which supports the organisational strategy.
Although CFOs aren’t expected to be able to speak in an accent, swordfight or ride a horse as actors are, they are expected to have accountancy qualifications, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to manage complex stakeholder relationships and to provide strong attention to detail with commercial and strategic acumen.
So, as you can see, at any time during a CFOs day, the CFO will be a sounding board/mentor for the CEO (and sometimes the only one to point out the flaws in a ‘blue sky’ idea), strategic advisor, bookkeeper, financial controller, risk management advisor, finance team leader, recruitment advisor and much more.
Being able to adapt to any one of the roles comes from experience. The CFO Centre’s part-time CFOs, for instance, have all had years of experience working in large corporations. They’re used to working in complex, demanding environments and switching roles as the need arises.
Unlike actors, CFOs don’t perform as they do for applause or for a gold-plated statuette (although many would be very, very happy if you offered to pay them in real gold bullion). They do it to help business owners like you take your fledgling business to new heights of success.
What’s more, you can be sure that the CFO you hire won’t ever pull you aside before or during a meeting to ask, “What’s my motivation?” *
To discover how a CFO Centre part-time CFO will help your business, contact us now on +852 3059 2506. To book your free one-to-one call with one of our part-time CFOs, just click here.
* [Note: No Oscar-winning Hollywood actor or actress was harmed during the writing of this article.]