It is said that the best indicator of future performance is to look to the past.
But growing disruption, technology innovation, evolving customer needs, and market dynamics are challenging this guidance. While P&L, cash flow, and financial statements are an organization’s performance barometer, as a financial leader, I am discovering the role of the chief financial officer (CFO) can bring valuable insight beyond the numbers.
As CFO, I have a unique perspective—one of the few roles that have a complete enterprise view of the company. I find myself assessing my role and how I can better support our strategic plan.
As financial stewards, how are we helping our company grow while balancing costs and mitigating risks? How can we be a driver of strategy and vision? How can we support an innovative culture and mindset?
Asking these questions directly correlates to how my role is evolving into more strategic and collaborative planning responsibilities.
Today, I am actively involved with, and sometimes leading, conversations and the exchange of ideas between leaders in sales, operations, and technology that identify new opportunities.
I collaborate to solve business challenges and offer a different point of view on new ideas and innovation. I partner with business leaders to build a strategy that makes good financial sense while achieving our growth expectations.
As financial leaders, we can shift the conversation from a cost focus to a business value focus.
The evolving CFO role has elevated its direct contact with customers and members. For years viewed as a back room operation, we are moving to the front lines to gain first-hand customer insight and understanding and appreciating what our customers need, think, and want.
As financial leaders within your credit union, how can you evolve your role to support growth, customer interaction, and service?
Here are some thoughts to consider:
• Recognize that the role of finance goes well beyond the deep understanding of numbers. It is as important, if not more, to become a strategic partner, collaborator, and facilitator of new ideas.
• Develop good relationships and networks with staff, customers, and industry peers. The added insight can provide new perspective to your role.
• Realize that change in our industry is happening faster than ever before. Be curious and observant on what is happening in the marketplace and in your own backyard.
• Challenge and support innovation beyond technology. Help others explore new ideas by mitigating financial obstacles early on.
While our financial responsibilities and bottom-line focus are critical to our role, as financial leaders we can become valuable collaborators and partners to drive new ideas, strategy, and innovation to support our organizations for the future.