The CFO: Jack of all trades

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Global Leader, Finance, Risk and Fraud Consulting - Global Business Services, IBM

The chief financial officer (CFO) is the new executive of all trades: finance expert, generalist, business strategist, growth champion, data scientist and performance leader.

The CFO’s role is a pivotal one, as all top executives recognize. CXOs say they work more closely with the CFO than with any other C-suite colleague except the CEO, and CEOs rely more heavily on the CFO than on the rest of the C-suite when they’re formulating business strategy. Managing enterprise risk and integrating different sources of information to generate meaningful business insights are critically important factors on the CFOs agenda. 

Top performing CFOs are integrating financial and operational data to get a deeper understanding of complex questions such as how much it really costs to serve individual customers, which ones are most profitable and what else the organization can offer them to generate sustainable increases in profit.

These top performing CFOs are known as performance accelerators, possess a distinguishing feature where they collaborate with customers far more extensively than other CFOs do. This higher level of collaboration leads to greater customer understanding which is one of the key features needed to grow a business profitably.

So what precisely can CFOs offer customers and their organizations in today’s digital age?

I will be helping to lead the conversation (@wfuessler) along with Natasha Bishop (@Natasha_D_G) during the next #CXO Twitter chat where we will discuss "The CFO: Jack of All Trades." Natasha will be directing the chat using Twitter handle @IBMbigdata, and you can join in easily using Twubs, where the hashtag #CXO is automatically appended to each tweet you send during the chat, streamlining the chat process.

Below are the questions we’ll be discussing as well as reference articles to help inspire the March 10 discussion at 12 p.m. EST/5 p.m. GMT. Join us!

#CXO Chat  Discussion Questions

  1. In a customer-activated enterprise, the enterprise accepts customers as stakeholders. By doing this, what are the implications of the future of the enterprise?
  2. How can the CFO close the growing gap between customer expectations and business execution?
  3. What will it take to elevate CFOs from supplying financial information to providing business advice?
  4. As the digital infuses the physical, and vice versa, how are CFOs transforming the customer experience?
  5. How can the CFO achieve efficiency faster using digital channels?
  6. How do you get the CFO's buy-in into customer experience investments and make them an advocate?
  7. How do you connect financial performance with customer experience programs and delivery?
  8. What's the role of analytics in connecting the CFO with customer experience initiatives?

#CXO Chat Reference Articles:

#CXO Chat Guest:

Fuessler Headshot.jpg Bill Fuessler (@wfuessler) is currently the Global Finance, Risk, and Fraud Leader for Global Business Services for IBM.   In this capacity Bill is responsible for all aspects of go to market strategy development, marketplace offerings, solutions and asset development, and delivery of engagements involving the Finance, Risk & Fraud.  Bill has delivered numerous Finance Transformation projects including finance process re-design, enhancing data consistency, developing target operating models, and advanced analytics.  Under his leadership as the Global Finance, Risk & Fraud Leader, Bill was the sponsor for IBM’s 2010 CFO Study entitled “The New Value Integrator” and the just completed 2014 CFO Study entitled “Pushing the Frontiers”. Bill is a CPA in the State of New York and has an MBA in Finance.

What is #CXO chat?

#CXO chat is a weekly conversation every Monday at 12 Noon EST/5 p.m. GMT, on Twitter. Each week we discuss a different customer experience optimization topic.

How do you join in?

If you use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, HootSuite or Seesmic Desktop, create a search column for the term/hashtag "#CXO" and then, as we tweet with the #CXO hashtag, all tweets tagged with "#CXO" will show up in your column. You can also follow with Twubs ( and it automatically adds the #CXO hashtag.

How do you participate?

Just jump right in! Review the discussion questions posted to prepare your thoughts and answers. When the question is posed, begin your response with A1: for question 1, A2: for question 2, and so on. No answer is wrong! We look forward to seeing you at the #CXO water cooler hosted by @IBMBigData.

Follow the hashtag #CXO throughout the week for articles, facts and nuggets on customer experience optimization. You can also continue the discussion on LinkedIn in the Customer eXperience Optimization group on LinkedIn.