Should the roles of CFO and CRO be combined?

October 8th 2021 | Posted by Phil Scott

Should the roles of CFO and CRO be combined?

Should the roles of CFO and CRO be combined?

Over recent years the role of Chief Finance Officer (CFO) has expanded. CFOs are no longer solely involved with financial reporting on the business.

They now have a wider remit which includes involvement with business strategy, operations, and sales.

Given the evolving role of the CFO, some organisations believe professionals can take on some of the responsibilities that are more closely related to the remit of a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Is this a sensible approach to take or should a business ensure that it has a CRO on board? If there are separate roles, how does working closely together help the organisation?

What is the connection between the CFO and CRO role?

When examining the possibility of combining the CFO and CRO roles in an organisation it makes sense to start by examining the connection between the roles. The main topic that connects the responsibilities of a CFO with those of a CRO is money.

Outside of this connection, the roles diversify from each other. The responsibilities and traits of a CFO are centred on the financial performance of the organisation. This includes accounting, budgeting, and the management of financial risk. In contrast, the responsibilities and traits of a CRO revolve around increasing revenue by coordinating marketing and sales efforts.

This means that although both professionals share a goal of maximising an organisation’s profits, their responsibilities in doing so are quite different as are their attributes. CFOs tend to be focused on metrics and returns and they look towards securing profits and growth over the long term. On the other hand, CROs tend to be pioneers who are focussed on sales and motivating the sales and marketing teams to perform.

Strong Partnerships More Beneficial Than Combining the Roles

Given the diverse nature of the skills and attributes requires for the CFO and CRO roles, it makes sense for an organisation to have two separate professionals in place. However, this does not mean that the two individuals should work in isolation from each other.

Top organisations realise the value of a strong CFO/CRO partnership. It can be challenging to bring the two individuals together in a partnership as they often have very different personalities. However, if a strong and close working relationship can be created it’s of great value to an organisation.

When a CFO and CRO work in partnership, they harness their individual skillsets in one place. This provides a firm foundation for business growth. These professionals also have the ability to come together to create a growth strategy for the organisation that optimises resources and reduces risk.

It’s clear that although the diverse nature of the roles often necessitates having both a CFO and CRO in place, and building a partnership between the two individuals works well. Differing personalities can make this difficult but persevering to achieve a working partnership is worthwhile as it brings about enhanced profit and growth opportunities for the organisation.

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