Role of the CFO

Coworking with Chris Ortega

CEO of Fresh FP&A
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· 3 min read

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The latest news and insights corporate finance professionals need to know to keep up with their constantly evolving industry.

Coworking is a weekly segment where we talk to CFOs and others in the finance space about their experiences, their companies, and the larger economy. Let us know if you are—or you know—a CFO we should interview.

Chris Ortega is the founder and CEO of Fresh FP&A, a fractional CFO and advisory services firm based in Indiana. He has a background in public accounting, an MBA, and serves a fractional CFO for a number of clients.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

How do you think the CFO role has changed over the past five to 10 years?

Traditional CFOs stayed in the number, analysis, and spreadsheet lane. The value they brought to businesses was scorekeeping. Modern, or “fresh,” CFOs are great communicators, collaborators, and build connections inside and outside the finance organization.

The modern CFO is tasked with bringing clarity for operations through technology, business partnership, and driving high performance. Also, the value proposition for fractional CFOs is something that will continue to increase in the upcoming years. Fractional CFOs…come with the skills, passions, talents, and experiences that businesses can operationalize immediately at a fraction of the time, energy, costs, and resources compared to full-time CFOs. I see this as a big opportunity for businesses and financial professionals.

What’s something we can’t guess about your job from your LinkedIn profile?

That I used to be an amateur boxer, and that I was originally a marketing major in college before switching to accounting and finance.

What advice do you have for future CFOs?

Get comfortable and enjoy the warm and fuzzy parts of your business—put on the “Chief Feeling Officer” hat. Behind all your models, all your forecasts, all your scenario planning, all your budgets, all the stuff that traditionally the office of CFO has maintained, there’s always going to be a human element. And I think CFOs are now incorporating a framework that I like to call the “empathetic data-driven decision-making model” that is really a catalyst and a transformative way of getting to decisions.

Move from technology lagging to technology adopters. Platforms are how we scale and increase our value to the business.

Put people before profits. With the continued pressure on talent, get on offense and quit playing defense. CFOs have a huge opportunity to partner with people operations and CHROs to significantly impact the costs of turnover.

Who’s a CFO you admire or you try to model yourself after?

I couldn’t just name one, but I model myself after leaders that I had the chance to work with that have the following qualities: empathy, patience, motivation, confidence, intelligence, and servant leadership.

If you weren’t a CEO/CFO you would be... ?

Traveling the world to understand the idea of fitness, working, and sports as part of a Netflix program called Fitness Around the World.—DA

News built for finance pros

The latest news and insights corporate finance professionals need to know to keep up with their constantly evolving industry.