CFO Leadership: Streamlining FP&A Paves the Path for CFOs to Make More Strategic Contributions

According to a Deloitte Signals Survey, CEOs on average said they value CFOs more than any other role in the executive suite. That implies that CFOs have inherent powers, and an implicit expectation, to not only run the business on a day-to-day basis but also to lead transformation. Every data point, every investment has to be analyzed and rationalized. Who better than a CFO to protect and lead growth objectively?

For years, CFOs have been telling us they aspire to make more strategic contributions. (Source: The CFO Alliance 2023 Global Mid-market CFO Sentiment Study Report (download here). However, taking up the strategy mantle continues to be hampered by undercapitalization, heads-down numbers crunching, and daily firefighting that impedes the ability to focus, define, and execute a longer-term strategic vision. Few CFOs and their teams have broken out from firefighting and myopic views of the state of the markets they serve. Among the bigger root causes they note are FP&A skills and data shortfalls and process weakness that if fixed would provide the standardization and repeatability needed to shift energies into more critical thinking, value creation, and to clarify the path forward for attaining more compelling futures.

But when a CFO’s FP&A house is on fire, it’s hard to think beyond firefighting and answering “what happened?” questions because the process is so crucial to running a business. Without a high-functioning FP&A process enterprises lose a factual bearing on immediate-term business performance and the ability to monitor the leading indicators of market change and how shifting market conditions could impact their business models. And how well the FP&A process works also has a direct bearing on finance team motivation, productiveness, innovation, and stress levels let alone the impacts on relationships, alignment, and accountabilities cross-functionally. That’s why CFOs say FP&A ranks at the top of the skillsets and supportive technologies they must enhance.

For 12 years running The CFO Alliance has been solely dedicated to advancing power and skills of CFOs – helping them run their enterprises more effectively and achieve their personal development goals. In support of these objectives, we’ve long adopted FP&A as core learning and development subject matter. And now in bringing First Water on board, their FP&A expertise will shape all the content for Member learning and development on a go-forward basis. And whenever needed First Water’s teams will also deliver the right FP&A insights and solutions right into a Member’s finance operation.

As we dive into the 2024 Strategic Planning & Budgeting Process, it’s time for a self-assessment that identifies needs for either more process insight and learning in preparation for it, or the need to explore an outsourcing option. Or perhaps even both. The best place to lay out the way forward is the Q3 Roundtable Series.

We will be co-delivering content and facilitating attendee discussion with First Water on these core topics:

  • Integrating risk management into the budgeting process to address uncertainty
  • Stress testing and scenario planning for assessing financial resilience
  • Capital allocation strategies in a constrained environment
  • Aligning budgeting decisions with long-term financial goals

The bonus benefit is hearing what your peers are thinking and doing. And the end-point vision is to enable CFOs and their teams to get FP&A so right that they emerge from the tedium to strategize and execute the next big moves for their enterprises. This is the nature of CFO leadership that CEOs desire and will rely on.

Be There

Use this link: to check out the roundtable schedule and locations for both virtual and in-person sessions and to REGISTER.

LEAD – LEARN – CONNECT – GROW are the four pillars of value creation underpinning the purpose of The CFO Alliance. We understand the CFO role like no other and continuously innovate to ensure high business value for our Member community. We facilitate the most trusted and constructive conversations among finance peers globally. And to enable the success of Members’ businesses and personal career growth, we support them with access to hyper-relevant benchmarking data, proven methodologies, meaningful insights, SMEs, and structured learning and personal development opportunities.

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CONTACT US for a no-obligation discussion.