The role of the CFO has become more diverse as there is increasing pressure to move beyond their core “back office” function, towards becoming a strategic business advisor.
In addition, current operating environments and the structure of modern organisations demand that finance work in partnership with operations, sales, HR, and other business units to help shape the company’s roadmap. With all these competing expectations and changes, we have put together 3 strategies a CFO can implement to improve strategic alignment.
1. Get familiar with cross-functional business units
A common problem faced by finance teams is that historically they have worked in silos, with little exposure or interaction with other business units. Today’s operating environment requires a comprehensive understanding of all areas within a business to achieve strategic alignment. Becoming familiar with market strategy, operational strategy and sales strategy is necessary to obtain a complete picture of a company’s value chain. This level of collaboration will help CFOs create strategies that support growth targets and assists with challenges. It is a process that considers how the numbers will be achieved.
By aligning and synching your strategy and purpose with your organisations capabilities you will create greater opportunity for your company to succeed. You may have a great strategy in place, but if you are not aware and aligned with your organisation’s capacity to perform and scale you will never achieve set targets.
2. Creating a growth culture
Growing or sustaining a business through covid-19 has seen certainty and stability replaced with indecisiveness and unpredictability. Strategies that used to fuel an organisation’s performance may no longer be sufficient to achieve the same result. Now is the chance for CFOs to take centre stage and navigate a company through the current environment by questioning existing methods and frameworks.
As a CFO bring your strengths to the forefront, consider your knowledge of systems, data analytics, and decision-making capabilities and share this beyond the boardroom table. Question traditional models and processes and consider how you can incorporate more agile methodologies.
Inspire and motivate employees to adopt a growth culture and mindset. Define performance accountability to the wider organisation and put in place frameworks that make employees aware of your expectations around productivity. Realistic benchmarks will make everyone accountable and allow you to measure and improve productivity across the organisation.
3. Putting the right technology in place
As digital transformation and technology matures, businesses are faced with emerging risks and opportunities daily. Technology is no longer “just” a supporting tool, instead it is an indispensable enabler that drives decision-making and performance. Unified data lakes, enterprise performance management, and business intelligence and visualisation tools are the gold-standard when it comes to building your digital eco-system. More mature organisations have already adopted and advanced their positioning through, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive analytics and the IoT.
Thus, it is imperative for CFOs to identify and embrace the right technology to harness opportunities as they arise, as well as eliminate potential risks. For CFOs, it is essential to partner with the CIO and CTO to fully understand how the information strategy fits into the organisation. With a clear understanding, CFOs can better evaluate IT investments, and ensure the business is supported with the right technologies for executing outcomes and optimising performance.
If you are a CFO or financial professional and finding it difficult provide your organisation with greater strategic alignment, why not contact the team at Minerva Partners?
We are a Management Consultancy that is laser focussed on business transformation, and we assist CFOs and transformation specialists every day to improve their data management, budgeting, forecasting, and planning, allowing them more time to focus on business growth and strategy.