The CFO role is changing and has been for the past decade. Typically the road to reaching this position went through an accounting background, to a controller, and then taking over as CFO. However, we are starting to see people assuming the title of CFO with many different backgrounds, including Finance (which is assumed), Engineering, Operations, and Sales. This is just to name a few.
But, the question is why. Why are we seeing this shift? Well, the role is changing. The impact that technology has had on the CFO role has been monumental. Not only are we able to dig into the financials in real-time, but we can set up our systems to give us data across the entire company. I highly recommend looking into a Business Intelligence platform like PowerBi or Tableau if you are looking to analyze your data at a high level.
With this shift, we are starting to see companies combine the CFO and COO roles. This makes sense as the CFO is already engrained in the Operations of the business. They have a visual into all aspects of the company (if you are able to view all your data), and can strategically lead the company through Operational efficiencies.
So back to answering the question of “Why?”.
We are seeing the shift of different backgrounds assuming the CFO role because of data. The ability to have real-time data, across multiple departments, allows us (CFO’s) to help strategically forecast and grow the companies we are serving. So as long as we have a good Controller in place to focus on compliance and historical recordkeeping (data), the CFO can be successful regardless of their background….to a certain extent ;).