Think CFOs Only Handle Finances? How Tomorrow's Finance Leaders Are Evolving

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    IFAC in the News

    Jan 01, 2014
    IFAC News, January 2014

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    Think CFOs Only Handle Finances? How Tomorrow's Finance Leaders Are Evolving

    In addition to their traditional roles as financial gatekeepers, chief financial officers (CFOs) and others in related finance leadership roles are now expected to participate in driving organizations toward achieving their objectives. As part of organizational leadership, CFOs are expected to increase their support of strategic and operational decision making in a “business partnering” capacity, in addition to fulfilling traditional stewardship responsibilities relating to governance, compliance, and control.

    Seeking a global debate among professional accountancy organizations, employers of professional accountants, and other stakeholders on the key implications for the education, training, and development of professional accountants, the IFAC Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee recently released The Role and Expectations of a CFO: A Global Debate on Preparing Accountants for Finance Leadership as a starting point.

    The Discussion Paper establishes a principles-based framework for understanding the changing expectations, scope, and mandate of the CFO and related finance leadership roles. The initiative seeks to capture the key requirements of the CFO role and highlight what professional accountants need to do to prepare for leadership roles in finance; support professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) and employers in their efforts to prepare professional accountants for career progression to finance leadership; and highlight the benefits of a professional accountant serving as the CFO.

    IFAC encourages a global dialogue involving a broad range of stakeholders, including PAOs and employers, who prepare accountants for finance leadership; regulators, who are striving for well-governed organizations and market integrity; and professional accountants, who need to consider how to develop the necessary competences for finance leadership, such as through appropriate education and experience, as well as lifelong learning.

    IFAC seeks responses and perspectives on five key questions:

    • What are the main requirements and expectations of CFOs and finance leaders?
    • What are the implications for skills and competency needed?
    • What are the key actions for PAOs and employers to prepare professional accountants for finance leadership?
    • What are the main factors for professional accountants to consider in striving for finance leadership?
    • What might regulators and other stakeholders do to influence the professionalism of finance leadership?

    The Discussion Paper supplements outreach through various forums to facilitate discussion and closer relationships between professional accountants, PAOs, employers, regulators, and other stakeholders, the first of which was the Global PAIB Forum in Beijing, China, on October 16, 2013, hosted by the Chinese Institute of CPAs. 

    Respondents can also submit their comments electronically through the IFAC website, using the “Submit a Comment” button on the Discussion Paper page (in Publications & Resources). An At a Glance and Resources are also available.

     

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