Traditionally, the CFO fundamentally had three main tasks: the books and records of the company, financial reporting, and statutory compliance. Today's CFO is fundamentally different from the CFO of yesterday. Today the role of CFO in a small enterprise is to drive the direction and success of the organizations they work in using their knowledge and understanding of the financial position of the company.
Key skills for the modern CFO are:
Leadership – To be an effective business partner, today's CFO must have the necessary leadership and communication skills. They must give advice and counsel as well as provide a voice of reason.
Operations – They should possess a strong understanding of the company's business model and industry and be able to use this knowledge to provide an independent perspective and to constructively challenge the commercial and operations teams, ensuring that business decisions are grounded in solid financial criteria.
Controls – In an increasingly global and volatile environment with additional regulatory burdens, it often falls to the CFO to ensure adequate assessment and mitigation of risk as well as compliance with applicable regulatory or other legal requirements.
Strategy – Supporting strategy development and helping enable its execution. The CFO also plays a role in prioritizing and ensuring the strategy can be funded.
These are the key skills acquired by modern CFOs in California. Investment in digital technology will be vital in managing complexity and driving productivity. The CFO must raise their game in managing, analyzing, and presenting data in a way that yields the greatest value for the business.