Empathy, people and purpose: How the CFO role is changing

New research shows 83% of finance leaders say the industry demands an evolution of the chief financial officer's role. Sage's CFO Jonathan Howell reports.

by Jonathan Howell

The role of the chief financial officer (CFO) is being radically redefined. During more than 30 years within finance, I’ve seen a huge change in the role that finance leaders and their teams play. The core DNA of a finance function is as important as ever – and getting the numbers right will always be critical – but teams are now also using data and insights to add value and shape the future, not just report on what’s gone before.

Today’s finance leaders must be future-focused strategists and advisors capable of providing guidance and commercial insights where their businesses need them most. Thanks to more readily available, reliable data, today’s CFO can take a more holistic approach to engage with the wider strategic priorities of the organisation.

As Sage’s recent research with finance leaders revealed, CFOs are now also responsible for diversifying their financial and technological expertise in such areas as AI, coding and web development; recruiting the right talent; and ensuring they implement purpose-driven programmes to remove friction and deliver positive business and financial outcomes for all stakeholders.  

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