The key skills of the Chief Financial Officer for 2020

January 6, 2020

función financiera - ciberseguridad

In recent years, the job of CFO has undergone a major transformation in companies. Like other services, these missions tend to be fully in line with the digitalization of information systems and particularly automation. Essential for the value of the company, its influence must be a facilitator in the search for growth and in the management of the complexities of cost control. Focus on the essential skills of the CFO in 2020.

Faced with the acceleration of the automation of tasks in companies, the Financial Departments are constantly adapting. Their major challenge will be to place people at the heart of successive technological advances (Blockchain, AI, machine learning, robots, dematerialization). These represent real opportunities for the function, but it is still necessary to know how to master them. According to a PwC survey, CFOs estimate that for the moment their teams still spend 80% of their time on data production compared to 20% for analysis. These figures are likely to be reversed in the coming years. To facilitate this transition, the 2020 CFO must become the spearhead of innovation in his organization, but that’s not all.

Be a data master

From now on, the ever-increasing data have placed the CFO at the heart of the company’s activity. Its role has thus shifted from transactional to central. According to a study by Accenture Strategy, 90% of CFOs’ time should now be spent on data, but few companies have yet reached this stage. The task is very complex because it requires the profiles and skills of the team members to evolve.

Master the growing complexity of data security

Data security has become a major issue for the finance department, particularly with the implementation of the DGPS in May 2018. European regulations have led to increasing complexity that must be managed for financial teams. Digitisation leads to an increase in security risk, it forces companies to set up processes to contain and control risk through more in-depth data control, benchmarks of what competitors are doing to control them and a strengthening of the business model.

Making the link between Data science and business

As we have said, data and analysis become essential elements for the company. Whether it is to develop sales, analyze customer behavior and thus control costs or more traditionally for the exploration of new markets. Artificial intelligence and process robotization thus become imperative to manage all this data. According to PwC, nearly 50% of CFOs are expected to use these technologies to improve their performance in 2020.

Using data to make strategics decisions

CRM, websites, social networks or marketing campaigns, millions of data are generated by companies and their processing in their entirety is impossible: it is Big Data. Only AI allows companies to analyze them in order to extract high value-added information for decision-making purposes. At a time when customer and employee experience are crucial, these decisions can be strategic. In 2020, the CFO must define his strategy around a precise analysis of this data to predict customer behavior and optimize the sales cycle.

Talent acquisition and growth of the company

In 2020, the CFO must manage the acquisition and retention of talent to build a structured talent management plan. From now on, CFOs should prioritize relational skills. Data skills are becoming essential to complement the increasingly multitasking and multi-skilled financial teams.

The CFOs’ mission is now focused on investment issues for business growth and a growing number of them see this as an opportunity to start a thorough organizational transformation for value creation. Finally, the CFO takes a central role in assessing the technological investments to be made in order to identify new business opportunities.