How the role of the CFO has changed during the pandemic

As a specialist CFO recruiter I interact with a lot of senior finance professionals. In many instances they have seen their roles change over the last 6 months to meet the needs of their business.

Some have handled this well and some have struggled with the “new world”.

It is less about the scorekeeping and more about leading a virtual workforce with empathy.

With an eye on the expense line, the stronger CFOs are leveraging their teams effectively, making sure that the right people are in the right roles. Innovation is key but it involves listening to the employees and carrying the business forward by doing more with less, rather than implementing large costly projects.

The pandemic has shifted the priorities:

  • Long term implications of an increasingly mobile workforce on cyber security, office space, recruiting and travel
  • Reduced cashflow and its impact on banking covenants
  • More M&A analysis – the potential to purchase less well capitalised business
  • Advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence

CFOs are finding themselves in far more commercial roles where operational management skills are valued almost as highly as business strategy skills, so the phrase “be careful what you wish for” springs to mind as many have struggled with the demands of being so involved operationally.

In summary a strong CFO in today and tomorrow’s world has a strong understanding of the business they are in, has high emotional intelligence and is able to juggle this with minimising risk to the business and preserving cash and resources.

Richard Baker
Head of CFO Practice
[email protected]