Having a CFO with a “head in the cloud” might be a good thing if we’re talking about cloud computing, cognitive technologies, and AI that has significantly influenced this role. The evolutionary path of the Chief Financial Officer continues with assuming the driving seat in companies’ digital transformation. Still, although they’ve come a long way, these professionals face a relatively steep road ahead.

The coronavirus outbreak has shifted gears on the pace of technology change because cloud-based platforms are ideally suited to help executives and their teams work remotely. Even though many are still behind the curve, there has been a considerable technological evolution of finance function. All of this calls for urgent reskilling and upskilling across all departments, not just financial.

With CFOs having to supervise their company’s digital activities and resolve issues outside the traditional finance function, the number of their direct reports is on the rise. It is getting harder to harness the increasing responsibilities. This scenario is why changing the recruiting strategy and redefining the CFO profile requirements are long overdue. 

My approach to these placements comprised a thorough analysis of its evolutionary road from a traditional finance function to a strategic, tech-savvy, global leadership finance position that has a pivotal role in C-level management. 

The secret to success in recruiting finance leaders lies in the deep understanding of all causes that influence their ongoing change to adequately address the newly-developed expectations business leaders have from this role.

Apart from technology, economic globalization has impacted Chief Financial Officers’ accountability for regulatory adherence and compliance, shifting them further toward enterprise risk management. Going global has broadened the playing field, and CFOs have to be aware of all risks facing the company. It’s no longer enough to think about financial compliance; the stakes are now on a much higher level, with economic and geopolitical instabilities influencing corporate decision making. Risks have skyrocketed with the coronavirus outbreak dumping a tremendous amount of pressure on CFOs across the globe.

It’s not that hard to assume what the future holds for CFOs. Their key priorities will be to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase profitability to tackle the ongoing crisis. Digital transformation is only a portion of the overall financial transformation CFOs will continue to drive in the future. Improved use of data and data insights will play a significant role in achieving these goals. This is where cloud platforms and new technologies play an essential source of CFO innovation and value-added to their business. 

This unique cross-functional nature of the role is becoming more prominent, with CFOs assuming a proactive role as the change agent in their companies. Their leadership capability comes forth really strongly here, and it’s becoming clear that businesses will rely on this even more in the future.