CFOs are experiencing growing pressure from a host of issues. They are constantly challenged over how to allocate their resources in the face of their significant responsibilities. And they need to balance short-term/long-term trade-offs as businesses seek to reduce cost but also plan for growth.

CFOs’ future role will be affected by nine key issues and priorities:

· corporates face greater regulation with CFOs having a personal stake in regulatory adherence

· finance leaders need to respond to globalisation by developing a finance function that works effectively on the global stage and embraces diversity

· fast-moving technology allows CFOs to reconfigure finance processes and use big data and analytics to gain business insight

· CFOs must ensure an appropriate corporate ethos to manage the changing nature of risk

· the analytical skills of CFOs are required in strategy validation and execution in a complex and quickly changing business environment

· finance functions must be transformed by the CFO to improve the service to the business at zero cost impact

· CFOs will become the face of the corporate brand in managing stakeholders

· CFOs will be burdened by broadening reporting requirements

· a brighter spotlight will be shone on talent, capability and behaviours on the top finance role.

"Tomorrow’s CFOs will increasingly need to be good at dealing with the media and at brokering the external relationships that matter for the face of the business. In many senses they will be the face of the corporate brand. They already fill this role with investors, but they will have a broader circle of business relationships, from their traditional partners through to customers, suppliers and supply chain partners and so on. They will need to embrace and use new media channels."


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Profound implications

The changing role of the CFO has profound implications for the global accounting profession and the skills that will be needed in the future. Traditional career paths of CFOs will evolve in new directions. 

All the issues and priorities in this report will shape and drive a need for a new blend of technical, business and behavioural capabilities.