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The CEO is most likely your company’s chief strategist, but the CFO should be deeply involved with strategy formulation—not necessarily as a proponent of any one strategy but as an arbiter of various strategic options. It goes without saying that the CFO should be a regular part of meetings where corporate-strategy decisions are made.
Check the hat rack in the CFO’s office. Chances are there isn’t a lot of room left because today’s CFOs are wearing more hats than they used to. Chief financial officers were once specialists in accounting and maybe taxes and treasury as well. In essence, they've been high-level bean counters assigned to track and report revenues and profits. Traditional CFOs were also gatekeepers, ensuring that company initiatives didn’t go forward unless they promised to generate acceptable rates of return. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional CFO. These are all functions essential to the success of any company. But the role of the CFO has expanded significantly in the past decade—so much so that you can no longer tell where the accountant ends and the strategist begins. In short, the world is changing, and CFOs have had to change with it. With that said, consider these steps to ensure your seat at the strategy table with the C-Suite and key stakeholders.
• Be Global.
• Know the business.
• Anticipate the needs of your business partners.
• Credibility is everything.
• Compromise, offer solutions.
• Be able to have difficult conversations, and say “No”.
• Be organizationally aware.
• Be an agent for change.
• Driving Accountability.
• Creating Strategic Dialog.
• Develop a Communications Strategy.
• Know your Stakeholders.
• Forcing standardization.
• What gets measured gets done.
• Building Data driven decision making.
• Reflect the business strategy.
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