If Your CFO Can't Talk Tech - Leave!

In an era where digital transformation dictates the pace of business change, the role of the CFO has broken traditional boundaries. Amen to that!

The modern CFO must be a transformer, challenging conventional norms and leading the charge in adopting technological advancements. If your CFO can't talk tech, it’s a red flag that could hinder your organisation's growth, vision realisation, team development, and job satisfaction. 

Creating a Compelling Vision

During our recent GENCFO Talks, Dan Fletcher, CFO, Planful agreed, 

'If your CFO does not want to be involved in the implementation of the CFO techstack, don't do it, you have a huge problem. Your CFO at least needs to understand and be passionate for the success of any project.'

The quintessential CFO must master more than just financial management and business acumen and cover core technology skills including data analytics, understanding of AI and machine learning implications for financial forecasting, proficiency in digital tools that streamline operations, and cybersecurity awareness to safeguard sensitive financial data. 

These competencies allow CFOs to make informed decisions quickly and with greater accuracy, or enable others to do so for them.

A laggard CFO is likely sailing without a compass in the digital ocean, risking slower growth and strategic misalignments. In contrast, a CFO who is conversant with tech can significantly influence the organisation’s vision. 

Fostering Finance Team Development

Their role is broad and no door is closed to them, so they are equipped to foresee and leverage technological trends, ensuring the company not only adapts to but also anticipates changes in the economic landscape. 

This forward-thinking approach is crucial for developing a robust, innovative business strategy that aligns with future customer demands.

Sarah Courtman, Senior Finance Manager, M&S, explained in our recent Agility Research Report, 

“Never hire anyone in finance if they didn’t show a willingness to learn technology”

Tech knowledge within the accounting and finance function drives efficiency and fosters an environment of continuous learning and improvement. A CFO who champions technology encourages their team to embrace new tools and solutions, which can automate mundane tasks and free up time for more strategic activities. 

This not only boosts productivity but also aids in team development by cultivating a culture of innovation and adaptability. This changemaker role can create a sense of purpose that the younger workforce thrive on. Gen Z workers seek roles that promise growth, learning opportunities, and a progressive work environment. 

A CFO who lacks tech skills might be viewed as a deterrent to this dynamic, possibly leading to high turnover within this demographic. In contrast, a tech-savvy CFO is seen as a mentor who values and integrates cutting-edge technologies, aligning with Gen Z’s expectations of a digitally fluent workplace.

The Unavoidable Shift

The shift towards a technologically empowered finance function is not just inevitable; it's already here. CFOs who fail to adapt risk becoming obsolete. 

For businesses aiming to stay relevant, having a leader who is proficient in tech is no longer a luxury—it’s an absolute necessity. As we advance, the mantra for thriving in finance is clear…

Adapt to technology or step aside!

For those in the accounting and finance sector, the message is clear: if your CFO can’t speak the language of technology, it may be time to seek opportunities elsewhere, one where your digital skills and innovative mindset are both valued and nurtured. 

The future belongs to those who innovate, and a CFO who shuns technology is simply a barrier to progress.

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Christopher Argent, Founder, GENCFO

Chris is the founder and MD of GenerationCFO.com and creator of the Digital Finance Function Model and a contributor to many articles on our platform. Chris focuses on the shift toward digital transformation in accounting and finance, shows you what good looks like, then helps to get you there!

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