The new CFO Mandate: Digital Transformation

How finance leaders can reconcile and fulfill their growing portfolios of responsibilities.

A recent McKinsey survey shows that the CFO’s role is rapidly evolving - expanding in scope, requiring new capabilities, and demanding greater collaboration with C-suite peers. In the first of three conversations, two McKinsey experts along with Jørn Jensen, an experienced finance leader, discuss the CFO’s new mandate with communications director Sean Brown.

Sean Brown: Can you tell us about the CFO survey and what insights it yielded?

Ankur Agrawal: We have been conducting this survey every two years for more than a decade to learn what is on CFOs’ minds. We are living in a very uncertain, volatile time, and some of the findings reflect both the opportunity and the challenge of the role today. CFOs have influence on more and more functions (Exhibit 1). The magnitude of the change is both impressive and broad. Secondly, the time for digitisation in finance is now. Many enterprises are doing fundamental reviews of their business models, and finance leaders are exploring how to accelerate the pace of change.

A couple of areas in particular are on the next S curve of CFO leadership. Historically, organisational transformations were often about cost and so naturally they fit in the CFO domain. This survey suggests there are more digital transformations on the horizon where CFOs can play a radically different role. Additionally, ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) has become an important topic for investors, and CFOs are excited about what this could mean for their role beyond reporting.

Read the complete article at McKinsey here.

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