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The Changing Role of the CFO

Posted on 22 November 2012 by Phil Duff

In a recent article by Paul Taylor in the Financial Times, he discusses the changing dynamics of the C-suite. He looks at the strong trend towards collaboration among roles as opposed to the multiple silos that we have seen in the past. Taylor talks to how CIOs, who have in the past focused primarily on IT, now need to be well-versed across a myriad of business responsibilities. In turn, the CEO and CFO need to understand IT and its role in the company.

Let’s look a little further into the role of the top financial executive within an organization…

When most of us think of accounting, we tend to view it as a bean counting role restricted to numbers – all about accounts and reports. In reality, though, accounting today is a management support function, as Chief Financial Officers’ responsibilities extend to include: governance, corporate social responsibility, risk and environmental management and information systems such as SYSPRO.

There’s no doubt that the role of the CFO or top financial executive and the additional areas of accountability have changed more drastically in the years since the market crash, than in the preceding century. Strategic management has become critical, and top priorities span:

  • Growth via preparation
  • Honesty and transparency
  • Continuous feedback
  • Multiple perspectives
  • Accountability and ownership

To add to this, the King Report on Corporate Governance recommends further extending the responsibility of a company’s board. On a worldwide basis, these corporate governance directives have highlighted the so-called triple bottom line, in which companies are required to account not only for economic and financial issues, but also for social and environmental issues.

King III builds on this principle by emphasizing sustainability. With this, executives have an accountability to shareholders and an obligation to all stakeholders (including shareholders) to ensure that the company’s resources are utilized to maintain the continuing viability of the company. This involves not only environmental sustainability (resource management with an eye on future needs), but also issues such as social responsibility (ensuring a positive impact on the community within which the company operates), respect for human rights, and the effective management of stakeholder relationships.

All of this said, it’s clear that the economic value of a company today extends way beyond the balance sheet. SYSPRO's financial solutions recognize this and are geared to help financial executives tackle mulitple priorities by providing comprehensive financial and cost accounting functionality and controls. SYSPRO also includes many features that assist with regulatory, governance, risk and compliance adherence. Financial data is always current due to real-time integration between SYSPRO financial, distribution and manufacturing solutions. Financial processes can be extended to the web or integrated to other applications using SYSPRO e.net Solutions.

Are you a financial executive that can bear testimony to this significant evolution of your role in recent years? We would love to hear your story!

 

Topics: SYSPRO, Business Strategy, Executive Responsibilities, CFO, ERP, business needs, Accounting


Phil Duff

Phil Duff is CEO of SYSPRO. Together with his brother Chris, he identified a gap in the market for accounting software. In 1978, they took the opportunity and founded SYSPRO. At the time, many technology entrepreneurs felt that success was dependent on a quick initial public offering (IPO).

Over thirty years later, SYSPRO is one of the longest standing independent vendors of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The company is operational in over 60 countries across six continents. Phil has stayed true to his values, and those values are evident throughout the company.

Phil has always believed in continuity and the long term, rather than quick profits. This philosophy is one of the cornerstones bolstering the robust performance and affordability for which SYSPRO is renowned. He believes in being fair: customers have never been sold software they didn’t need, nor have sales people engaged in pressure tactics, but rather in nurturing relationships for the long term.

Phil leads a talented global team, supported by over 1500 channel partners. Together, they deliver cost-effective, scalable and customizable enterprise software and services to customers across six continents.

 

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