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Finance roles will look different in three years, according to vast majority of CFOs

Four in five finance chiefs worried about the future of their roles.
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Yes, the role of the finance leader is much different than it once was. But the evolution is not over, according to a vast majority of CFOs surveyed by Sage.

The software developer polled more than 1,200 finance leaders globally and found that 96% of CFOs said they expect finance roles in their organization to change over the next three years, and nearly nine in 10 reported that their role as CFO is different now than it was just a year ago.

Once “traditionally anchored in daily finance and budget management,” the survey’s authors wrote, “successful CFOs now have broader, more strategic roles encompassing company-wide decision-making and innovation.”

With all that change comes high anxiety: Four in five survey respondents said they are worried about the future of their role.

The CFO’s remit. As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben once said: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Sage found that CFOs were indeed responsible for a whole lot.

A majority of respondents said that in a normal week, their responsibilities include operations, problem-solving, implementing new technology, employee management, ESG and sustainability reporting, and upskilling others on new technology, as well as recruiting, onboarding, and training. In fact, Sage found that CFOs spent more than four hours a day on non-financial activities.

More than six in 10 (61%) of CFOs said that in the next three years, they expect to spend more time in financial reporting and analysis, financial/scenario planning, and upskilling themselves on new technologies or systems.

The top skills that CFOs said they need are strategic thinking, problem-solving, organizational, leadership, and communication skills. Among those who consider themselves successful, an understanding of technology and systems and confidence (shocker!) were also listed as top skills.

“In an executive team, the expectation is to excel in one area and be a multifaceted leader who can adapt and learn as needed,” Michell Guzelgul, CFO of Empeon, said in the report.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.