Company Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) should take a more active role in guiding the businesses they run through times of uncertainty, according a new report Big Four accounting firm Deloitte and cloud computing company Anaplan.
The report warns that CFOs perception of themselves and their own roles fails to match the perceptions of others, as it argues financial chiefs should step up to the fore and take control of major transformative initiatives.
The report notes that most business leaders polled said they believe CFOs have a vital role to play in progressing advancing their companies’ ESG initiatives – even as many CFOs do not consider ESG concerns to be one of their main priorities.
The poll of 700 executives found that 91 per cent of those working in businesses credit CFOs for the successes of ESG initiatives – while 78 per cent of CFOs believe they have been least successful when it comes to ESG.
The reports authors argue that there is “real opportunity” for CFOs to expand their roles in regards to ESG and to embrace it as one of their core priorities.
Anaplan’s chief of connected planning, Victor Barnes, said: “CFOs are critical to driving digital transformation and expanding growth opportunities.”
“And while we’ve done our best to dispel the myth of the CFO as conservative executives preoccupied with numbers, there’s still more to be done. It is encouraging, therefore, to see that these findings show CFOs are in fact inspiring, strategic leaders.”
However, the report says there is still scope for CFOs to “evolve with the times” by pivoting their role to align with the perceptions of their colleagues.