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Chief Financial Officers Have Exponentially Larger Roles to Play in Digital Strategy and Execution, Accenture Report Finds

Nearly eight in 10 CFOs say that organizational disruptions from the pandemic accelerated a transformation of their roles

As the pandemic continues to challenge organizations worldwide, the role of chief financial officers (CFOs) has moved further beyond “economic guardians” of the enterprise to “architects of business value” and “catalysts of digital strategies,” with nearly three-quarters (72%) of CFOs reporting that they have the final say on the appropriate technology direction of the enterprise, according to a new research from Accenture.

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The report, “CFO Now: Breakthrough Speed for Breakout Value,” finds that in addition to the pandemic, other external challenges including digitalization, market dynamics and fast-evolving consumer expectations have forced CFOs to broaden and transform their roles. CFOs are also being asked to ensure that their company appropriately mitigates risk by addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, as well as security challenges faced by their organization.

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“The role of the CFO has further evolved beyond serving as the finance lead to becoming a ‘digital steward’ of their organization. Increasingly, CFOs are focused on collecting and interpreting data for key business decisions and enabling strategy beyond the borders of the finance function,” said Christian Campagna, Ph.D., senior managing director and global lead of the CFO & Enterprise Value practice at Accenture. “Faced with new challenges spurred by the pandemic, today’s CFOs must execute their organizations’ strategies at breakthrough speeds to create breakout value and success that can be realized across the enterprise.”

The report identifies an elite group (17%) of CFOs who have transformed their roles effectively, resulting in positive changes to their organizations’ top-line growth and bottom-line profitability. CFOs who fully exemplify their new roles and operate effectively at breakthrough speeds could almost double their EBITDA CAGR from 3.8% to 6.9% over the next three years and increase their revenue CAGR from 2.7% to 3.0%.

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