Data- and insight-driven strategies, cybersecurity, blockchain, and robotic processing automation: there’s a whole new language for today’s CFO.
Digital technologies are everywhere now. No longer exclusive to Fortune 500 level firms, businesses of all sizes are using tech to drive everything from business models to strategic plans to everyday operations. With that comes the need for CFOs who are not just bolting on tech to their skill set, they have it as second nature to how they operate.
The advantages start at the 50,000ft view. Tech-natured CFOs have a clearer vision of the financial systems and other IT the organization needs to become more efficient, effective, and competitive. These CFOs are able to lead the change from the top and work with the CIO, not for the CIO, to help source, install, and deploy the right systems at the right times.
This ability becomes even more valuable in the critical first 100 days over a business has been acquired. A CFO taking that time to learn the tech is time the business doesn’t have. By making the quickest possible assessment of the current technology and what changes need to be made to align with the organization’s goals and the acquirer’s technology, a tech-savvy CFO becomes worth their weight in gold.
Sourcing that CFO
Surprisingly, research has shown that a number of tech-savvy CFOs have not come from companies that have risen from the tech world. Instead, they come through old economy businesses that needed the technology to modernize and become more competitive and profitable. They have led major technology initiatives or company-wide technology transformations that have driven significant value creation. They may have even served stints as CIOs after their time as a CFO.
Seeing the path to becoming more tech-savvy is a benefit to them and the organizations they serve, many CFOs are starting to take on technology projects. However, ushering through a back-office accounting system upgrade is not quite enough. Technology is simply too multifaceted and moving too fast to have those kinds of projects provide the credibility needed. Instead, it helps to look for CFO’s that have partnered with CIOs to implement large scale technology initiatives that succeeded in moving the company forward. Getting on that project team has been shown to offer the valuable exposure and experience needed to get a CFO to the next level of digital initiatives. It’s also valuable for their team.
Not sure what to look for in your CFO? Talk to us. We’ve been installing tech-savvy CFOs in post-transaction situations for years. Click here to find out more about us or drop us a line.