The CFO's role is evolving, and it is pivotal in an organization. All C-suite executives recognize this—CXOs even say they work more closely with the CFO than with any other C-suite colleague except the CEO. Then what value can the CFOs offer to the other C-suite members, and to the organization overall?
During our last Global CFO Study in 2010, we identified four different profiles of CFOs and established one profile type called 'Value Integrators": a CFO personality who stands out from the crowd in terms of organizational business performance. "Value Integrators" have proven that they are more effective at core finance functions, utilizing both finance efficiency and business insight. Over the last three years, Value Integrators continue to push the boundaries of both revenue growth and profitability.
However, in the latest CFO Study, we found a new small subset of Value Integrators who are even more impressive in their track record. We’re calling these superstars “Performance Accelerators” because they’ve mastered their core duties so thoroughly that they’re far ahead of every other kind of finance organization, including their fellow Value Integrators. What differentiates Performance Accelerators from the rest, including the Value Integrators, is perfecting finance efficiency, capitalizing on business insights and driving profitable growth.
Let’s focus on the business insights here for a moment. The study shows that Performance Accelerators have created a more robust planning and forecasting process and developed the analytical skills to partner with other areas of the business. Performance Accelerators are more effective at conducting various forms of analysis. They’re better at tracking and forecasting supply-chain financial data, such as planning and predicting resource capacity, and much better at conducting industry and competitor analysis. This strong emphasis on analytics helps Performance Accelerators excel at scenario planning. The use of more data analytics is helping them achieve profitable growth, because they can identify growth opportunities (for example new products and services) and manage risk.
Another key attribute of Performance Accelerators is that they recognize the value in working with customers. They collaborate with customers far more than their CFO peers, who do not necessarily believe customers are the priority in the finance organization. This indicates the increasingly important collaboration among the C-suite, especially between the CFO and CMO.
I’d like to invite you to listen to my podcast which walks through the CFO Study in a bit more detail. I also encourage you to visit the C-suite Study page to download the full CFO Study report and other C-suite Study reports. Also, visit the recently launched page on our finance, risk and fraud consulting practice, which shares some useful assets on how IBM can help improve core finance functions and performance management.