Traits of top CFOs in a digital world

June 25th 2021 | Posted by phil scott

Traits of top CFOs in a digital world

Traits of top CFOs in a digital world

In the past, the finance discipline was centred on crunching the numbers and ensuring that legislative requirements were met. In recent years there has been a marked change in the landscape.


Top CFOs know that the best performing finance teams lead the business to meet its commercial goals. Technology is at the centre of making this happen. With this in mind, there are certain traits that the most respected CFOs possess.

View technology as an investment rather than a cost

Digitally switched on CFOs understand the impact that technology has on the finance function and the overall business. They appreciate the value of keeping abreast of an ever-changing technological landscape and see technology as a good investment rather than a cost to the business.

Anticipate the future of the business

There has been a seismic move from the idea of finance teams balancing the books to CFOs playing a leading role in predicting the financial future of the business. Top professionals use information provided using analytics and reporting tools to develop scenarios and evaluate their potential impacts on the organisation.

Drives change in the organisation

CFOs are more than ever acting as a right hand to the CEO. Those that are most sought-after and respected drive the organisation’s strategy and performance. Embracing state-of-the-art technology such as AI and Cloud plays a significant part in this.

Embraces the complexity of risk and compliance

The finance function  has always been responsible for managing its own risks such as adherence to budgets and financial regulation. In addition, CFOs now have a wider role when it comes to risk and compliance.

High performing professionals are at the centre of ensuring the business as a whole meets standards. Taking this responsibility helps the organisation to avoid hefty financial punishments for non-compliance.

Handles and reports on non-financial data

Gone are the days when the finance discipline reported only on financial data. Today, businesses have a more holistic approach to their reporting processes. This being the case, a vital trait of a top-performing CFO is the ability to embrace the provision of qualitative data as well as quantitative information.

They ensure that social reporting is backed up by data in the real world. This helps the business to meet climate protection and social responsibility targets.

CFOs who are at the pinnacle of their performance already recognise these traits. This is good news given that the characteristics are likely to become ever more important as we progress into the future of a digital world.

Embracing digital possibilities gives CFOs an insight that they could not hope to have otherwise and strengthens the relationship between them and the CEO as they work together to lead the business. Those CFOs who recognise the potential of technological progression are at the forefront of the profession and lead their finance teams by example rather than allowing them to be left behind.

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