When someone utters the word CFO, what are the thoughts that race through your mind?
If you are now imagining about a certain affluent personality who is just a money minting machine for a brand, then you should really reassess your views and opinions on the subject.
Gone are the days when the role of CFOs would only be restricted to overseeing the financial performance of a company. With the ever growing emergence of startups, the responsibilities needed to be carried by CFOs have increased exponentially.
The scope of work for Millennial CFOs easily exceeds managing monetary needs of a brand. In present times, a CFO has to deal with multiple activities such as directing new strategic initiatives, coming up with fresh performance drivers, be abreast with dynamic changes in technological landscape, and others.
Let’s look in detail about 5 indispensible traits that new age CFOs need to make startups thrive.
1. Jack of All Trades, Master of Some
I know I have altered the all famous proverb, but come to think of it – modern day startups truly need CFOs who can step up to understand and take care of everything that can and will happen in and around the company. Essentially, he/she must be able to handle any issue that crops up in any department, be it HR, IT, or risk management. For this to happen, the CFO should possess fundamental knowledge on all subjects and also expertise on matters that need his/her utmost attention.
2. Succession Planning
A startup often faces problems around manpower and its proper utilization. This is where Succession Planning comes into fray. It is necessarily a process to identify and develop employees to fill important business leadership positions. Here, CFOs of today need to inculcate the trait of creating an awesome succession management. Therefore, they need to build a great leadership team, and ensure that there is not excess dependency on a single person.
3. Capitalize on the Digital Revolution
The realm of technology has been witnessing massive strides over the past few years, and it is only observing rapid evolution with almost every passing day. Startups today need all the new technology to make a successful run, along with an Omnichannel presence to foster relationships with customers over social media, mobile, email, chat, and a host of other platforms. Therefore, it is for the CFOs to figure out how to make optimum capitalization of the digital revolution. Also, the IT head should report directly to the CFO to keep him informed about all changes, and help him/her create a profound understanding of technological transformations.
4. A Go To Person for Strategy
Uncertainty is the order of the day with all businesses, as the world is moving at a breathtaking pace. What is popular today among masses might soon become obsolete. For this reason, startups need CFOs with a long term vision, and someone who is able to track trends and patterns well before they become a reality. This is where the function of big data is game changing. A superior CFO will be able to predict and analyze potential trends and their impact on M&As, investment structures, and others to be a go to person in forming strategies.
5. Ace Fund Pilot
In the end of it all, it all burns down to money. No, not handling money but bringing in a mounting number of business deals on a regular basis for the firm. And the best person for this task has to be no other person apart from the CFO. Naturally, CFOs should have a knack to keep a track of beginning and closing important deals, and should always keep options open in terms of financing sources. Moreover, he/she should also keep a watch on expense reduction, without compromising on the business goals.