As a CFO, the traditional expectation is to focus solely on financial reporting and analysis. However, in today's rapidly changing business landscape, CFOs are expected to be more than just financial experts. They are expected to be strategic partners to the CEO and other executives, bringing value to the company in other ways. CFOs are expected to be creative problem-solvers, capable of identifying and pursuing new opportunities for growth.
Despite this expectation, there are still obstacles that prevent CFOs from being more creative. One of the biggest obstacles is the fear of stepping outside of their traditional role. The mentality of "staying in your lane" is prevalent in many organizations, and CFOs may feel hesitant to venture into other areas of the business where they may not have as much expertise.
Another obstacle is the perception of the CFO role itself. Many people still view the CFO as the "numbers person" who is only concerned with financial metrics. This perception can be limiting, as it prevents CFOs from being seen as strategic partners and problem-solvers.
Additionally, there may be resistance from other executives who are used to working in their own silos. CFOs may face resistance from other executives who are protective of their own domains and are not open to collaboration.
To overcome these obstacles, CFOs need to be proactive in building relationships and gaining buy-in from other executives. They need to demonstrate that their efforts to be more creative and strategic are not a threat to others' roles, but rather a way to support and enhance the overall success of the organization.
One way to do this is to focus on collaboration and communication. CFOs can work closely with other executives to identify areas where they can provide value beyond financial reporting. For example, they can collaborate with the chief marketing officer to develop financial metrics that measure the ROI of marketing campaigns. Or they can work with the head of operations to identify cost-saving opportunities that improve efficiency and profitability.
CFOs can also focus on developing their own skills and expertise beyond traditional financial reporting. They can seek out training and education opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of other areas of the business, such as marketing, operations, or sales. By expanding their knowledge and expertise, they can become more valuable strategic partners to other executives.
In conclusion, being a creative and strategic CFO requires overcoming several obstacles. CFOs must be willing to step outside of their traditional role, navigate the perception of the CFO role, and collaborate with other executives to bring value to the organization. By focusing on building relationships, communication, and expanding their own skills and expertise, CFOs can become effective strategic partners who drive growth and innovation.