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08.08.2019 3 min

Are we ready for 2020? Systemic Change, Strategic Value and the Modern CFO


ADAPT’s 11th CFO Edge event occurs on the precipice of 2020. We challenge if Australasian organisations and CFOs are as prepared for the immediate future as they planned and hoped.

Over the last 8 years of national CFO events, ADAPT has seen the CFO role evolve far beyond finance, to emerge as a strategic leader, transformation enabler and navigator of the challenges, opportunities, risks and pitfalls of modern digital business.

Enter the Modern CFO…

Leading through years of volatility, change and disruption, the modern CFO has learned how to deliver competitive advantage through calculated risk-taking, envisioning and investing in organisational and business model transformation.

Well-defined forecasting and capital allocation strategies now identify, model and resource new opportunities, then the CFO will rationalise priorities to execute on properly governed growth plans.

The modern CFO will define and lead a best-in-class finance function which partners with and across the organisation as a role model for effectiveness, ethics, trust and security risk.”

They catch up and keep up with the pace of IT trends and emerging technology to leverage scalable automation, cloud, AI and digitisation. They reimagine the modern finance function through calculated risks, experimentation and tech innovation while ensuring regulatory compliance, crisis response and mitigating cyber threats.

As the modern CFO assumes greater responsibility for identifying and closing gaps in a more data and insights-driven organisation, they will leverage superb data governance and architectures to enable big data analytics for improved predictive scenario planning.

They frame talent acquisition, retention and skills as the biggest threat to growth, working on an organisational people strategy to combine employee, brand pride and customer experience to counter ever-increasing wages as means to retain the workforce.

They now reposition and reskill, while they automate and define the partnership of AI and humans.

They are defining the roadmap for transformation and will ensure vigilance across budgets, workloads, skills and stakeholder support. They will align good governance to execute on strategy and will help overcome resistance to change.

Emotional Intelligence

Meanwhile, as their role evolves, so does the expectation of a modern CFO. Actively shifting from financial leader to strategic enabler, they adapt to be more effective and rethink usual processes.

To deliver value across multiple functions, this emerging CFO will realise the need for improved emotional intelligence, creative thinking and interpersonal skills, for better stakeholder management and interdepartmental communication.

Soft skills in engagement, persuasion and presence will help to clearly convey sound financial arguments, which in turn enhance the credibility and perception of the CFO and Finance functions.

 

The Reality

ADAPT’s research and knowledge of the Australasian market, especially through hosting and surveying 3,000 business and technology leaders in the last 12 months, is that many C-level organisational leaders do not believe their organisation is prepared and resourced to manage or even potentially survive the digital age.

With massive change and a majority of the S&P 500 expected to churn faster than ever due to disruptive forces, Australasia has been risk-averse and complacent and now lags the world.

We face an acute skills shortage and legacy processes and systems are crippling our largest organisations.

While there are many emerging digital leaders, other businesses are not adopting new ways of doing things fast enough to catch up or keep pace. Many CFOs also do not believe they or their current finance function are equipped to meet the increasing demands soon to be placed upon them.

 

The Bottom line?

As technology, trade wars and competitive threat disrupt all, the modern CFO needs to emerge today.

Bold moves are required to make the most of the opportunities and threats – to challenge assumptions and take calculated risks – to create and lead a resilient financial operation – to strike the right balance between technology and people – and to drive growth and advantage today for tomorrow.

For our CFOs to meet these challenges they must improve their own competencies, and those of their team – equipping them with the right tools, technologies and processes to stand fast and lead.

Central to all will be calculated experimentation, better capital allocation to transformation, and the elevated soft skills of a modern leader to define the roadmap, navigate the organisation’s journey through the new industrial revolution, and to successfully motivate and bring all on that journey.

ADAPT’s vision is to make Australia more commercially competitive and productive, for us and for future generations. We are committed to our mission of equipping executives with the knowledge, relationships, inspiration and tools needed to gain competitive advantage.

ADAPT CFO Edge at Sydney’s Hilton on Wednesday 13 November will host 120 CFOs responsible for revenues equivalent to 40% of Australia’s GDP and over 12% of the workforce. We will deliver practical ideas and actionable insights to help enable the modern CFO, with learned experience from Sean Boyle the global CFO of AWS, and local expertise from Ian Oppermann, Lisa Fraser, Paul Shetler, Amantha Imber, Simon Waller, David Banger, Professor Toby Walsh, and leading ADAPT analysts.

CFO Edge is an invitation-only event, now in its 8th year and 11th iteration.

For more information and the agenda click here

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