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Monday, October 5, 2015

Top 5 Items CFOs Should Add to Their Agenda

Posted by Armanino Technology Group

Recently, a gathering of global chief financial officers from some of the world’s largest companies gathered at the Wall Street Journal’s  CFO Network conference. They saw a tightening labor market and higher wages—a sign of economic momentum. With the CFO market for talent at a premium and fierce competition in the finding the right CFO, a wide range of skills are becoming increasingly important, including knowing the ins and outs of regulation, the importance of cybersecurity and how to handle increased shareholder activism.

Executives from the CFO Network conference split up into five groups to debate their management and policy agendas. Here’s a list of their top overall priorities:

  1. Bring Broad Perspectives. The CFO should be a thought leader for and with the CEO. The CFO should be a complement to the CEO and provide a balanced perspective, to thoroughly explore alternatives, and broaden the conversation with key external and internal stakeholders.
  2. Set Tone at the Top for Cybersecurity.  As noted in Partner Jeremy Sucharksi’s recent blog on ISACA Now, The Cost to a CFO of Ignoring the Obvious, the CEO and the board need to prioritize the issue of cybersecurity, and senior management needs to drive a culture of vigilance and accountability. It’s imperative that stakeholders understand the implication of a breach, and that cybersecurity is everybody’s job.
  3. Reform International Taxes. Advocate for a more efficient tax system to encourage companies to return cash to the U.S., including thorough territorial systems, flat rate and repatriation holiday. The money can benefit the U.S. economy.
  4. Share Capital Strategy. Create a decision hierarchy of how to use your cash. Articulate capital allocation strategy to shareholders. Clarity on management’s strategy and process will remove investor uncertainty.
  5. Recruit and Develop Innovators. Talent is what drives innovation. If you want innovation, it’s necessary to recruit and develop people who are comfortable with change and have natural curiosity. Even international experience is increasingly important in the financial suite, as boards build their management team to drive a global agenda. Hire employees who are willing to challenge the status quo.

It’s increasingly apparent that boards depend on CFO’s for leadership on matters well beyond finance. Today’s CFO’s need to be an integral part of board leadership—to actively contribute as well as guide, educate and hold accountable executive officers and directors.

Technology companies face ongoing challenges, from subscription-based accounting issues in the software sector to supply chain disruptions in high tech. Armanino has the practical expertise to meet the industry’s diverse needs. We combine real-world experience with technical skill to help clients solve immediate problems and implement long-term strategies for success.

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