Jan DeKempe, Chief Financial Officer of Region Americas at Schenker Inc., discussed the different types of chief financial officers he has noticed in the past during his presentation at the 2014 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum in New York on May 13. DeKempe noted a visionary CFO can have major effects on an organization and guide its finance department in the right direction for years to come.
According to DeKempe, avoiding bad debt is crucial for a CFO, especially in today's economic climate. If a CFO focuses on its key customers, DeKempe said, it can avoid bad debt and prevent costly mistakes: "On key customers ... [we] will try to be involved on collection issues and also, personally, I visit the top three accounts where I could really be a person influencing."
In addition, DeKempe noted CFOs should try to create value. A good acquisition can help a company boost its profits, and DeKempe pointed out CFOs should try to find ways to make valuable acquisitions happen whenever they are possible. DeKempe also said creating transparency throughout a company's accounts receivable department can have long-lasting effects: "How did we create this transparency on the accounts receivable? Through this spreadsheet we get details on the customer balance and then trends. The effectiveness, we put clearly on the billing accuracy and this we put on certain business field like the customer at 50 highest accounts receivable; the customer with the highest 90 days."