How can the CFO evolve today to reframe finance for tomorrow?

Longread by EY

CFOs should put finance at the heart of long-term value reporting, inspire an open finance function and elevate emotional intelligence.

In brief

  • Finance leaders should take the lead in integrating financial and nonfinancial performance to move long-term value from ambition to action.
  • CFOs should reframe the future of finance with a focus on trusted technology, new talent profiles and an expanded ecosystem.
  • To build more connected C-suite leadership teams, CFOs should prioritize people skills and emotional intelligence to respond with agility to disruption.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a time of great uncertainty, but it is also an opportunity for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to demonstrate the critical strategic role they can play in helping transform the future of the enterprise. However, doing so will likely require major changes in how CFOs act and think – their “DNA.” The 2020 EY DNA of the CFO survey identifies three fundamental ideas for CFOs to consider: 

  • Be smarter about the emotional intelligence that underpins collaborative leadership
  • Reframe what value means for the organization
  • Make bold and innovative choices to reframe finance for a very different future

While the pandemic has come at a huge humanitarian and economic cost, it has also changed how we think about the world. As well as protecting their people and their communities, innovative and bold companies are also pioneering new business models, accelerating digital priorities and transforming how they work. Therefore, CFOs should not just focus on the “here and now” as they help lead their business through the COVID-19 pandemic. They should look to the future – not just what’s next, but beyond. In fact, long-term success in the CFO role – and building a lasting legacy – is likely to prove elusive without “imagining the beyond.” 

These insights draw on findings from the 2020 EY DNA of the CFO survey, which explores the perspectives of more than 800 global CFOs, finance directors (FDs) and other senior finance executives. You can also explore the survey data and take a deeper look at how different CFO profiles perceive key aspects of their role and finance priorities.
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