The Unique Perspective CFOs Bring in Today's Digital World
Dori Abendschein, the Chairperson at the marcus evans CFO Summit XXXIII Fall 2017, discusses how CFOs can provide a unique perspective on the current disruptive landscape of technology and how it affects the organization's shareholders and investments.
'The CFO can give the CEO quite a different perspective on the current disruptive landscape of technology and how it will impact shareholders and the company's investments. As CFOs, it is our obligation to drive that clarity and be that voice of reason,' says Dori Abendschein, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Essilor of America.
'CFOs can only be effective at that if they are up to speed with digital technologies, the market and competitors. It is imperative that CFOs have a strong seat at the table to give CEOs their insights on how digital is affecting the business,' she suggests.
Abendschein is the Chairperson at the marcus evans CFO Summit XXXIII Fall 2017, in Irving, Texas, October 8-10.
What value can a CFO add to the CTO and CIO perspective?
A CIO is good at technology and innovation, a CTO at understanding the latest and greatest trends on the market, and a CMO is focused on data capability. But, the CFO is in a unique position to make sure those ideas and innovation can be monetized over time and that they fit in with the long-term strategy of the company. With so many new technologies and software available today, it is easy for a company to over-invest or invest in solutions that do not bring value back to shareholders and employees. The CFO must be that Litmus test. CFOs will not just look at cost, but also return. If you look at innovation as a customer enabler, you can drive value. Customer and employee experiences are important. The CFO has the unique ability to balance profitability, customers and employees. The CFO and CIO must also work together on the governance and security around the data strategy.
Do all CFOs understand and embrace opportunities that new technologies bring on board?
In certain industries, CFOs are lagging behind in terms of building that digital team. CFOs have to play that role. There are discussions on how data science comes into the financial world and how it can be used for competency and capabilities. There is an extraordinary shift in many CFOsï¿½ mindsets on what skills need to be incorporated moving forward, but many CFOs are lagging behind and have not recognized the need to influence that at the CEO level. It is critical the finance community understands now is the right time to build capability around data science and look at skill sets differently than in the past. Even if we separate out the science, the tools available for systems analytics are different and easier for people to use. A different set of skills will be needed moving forward and CFOs must be on the cutting-edge of the talent the organization needs, the talent it needs to keep and how people will be developed.
What are some of the myths or misconceptions CFOs have?
If CFOs spend too much time looking in the rear-view, analyzing history and basing decisions on historical algorithms, they will miss the boat. The accounting practice is not enough to predict the future.
The second miss is that CFOs tend to look very internally at traditional competition yet most industries have significant disruptive quality, whether through data experts like Google or Amazon or through new competitive entrants. The CFO's job is to look beyond the here and now, and create long-term value. Every time there is a change in administration, in any country, the tax strategy and economic conditions may change. The CFO must be on the cutting-edge of global political and competitive trends, as they all fit into the long-term financial health and welfare of the company.
Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division
Tel: + 357 22 849 313
About the CFO Summit XXXIII Fall 2017
The CFO Summit XXXIII is the premium forum bringing senior finance executives and solution providers together. The Summit offers solution providers and CFOs an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping the future of the industry. Taking place at the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Irving, Texas, October 8-10, the Summit includes presentations on executing a successful finance transformation, cyber security preparation, Revenue Recognition updates and the implications for business, and how CFOs can drive innovation and value-creating growth.
For more information please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the event website at www.cfosummits.com
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