Coupa Software Chief Financial Officer Todd Ford shared his thoughts on the CFO role, and how it has transformed into a chief operating officer role, during his presentation at the 2015 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Breakfast in Dallas on Sept. 17. In his presentation, Ford noted that today's CFOs provide real-time information to help CEOs make better business decisions consistently.
According to Ford, a CFO is a "custodian of assets." A CFO must have operational expertise, Ford said, along with advanced knowledge of myriad business processes. In addition, Ford pointed out that a CFO must understand risk and determine the best ways to minimize it: "It’s IT risk. It’s financial risk. It’s disaster recovery. In order to really have control of risk you need to have a full understanding of what’s happening in all facets of the organization. That also mandates that the CFO really has much deeper operational chops, if you will."
Also, Ford noted that today's CFO is much more operational than in the past. While many CFOs previously took a technical approach to their work, Ford said, technology can provide significant support to these professionals. He pointed out that CFOs offer vital information to help a business grow its revenues as well: "I look at us as the nucleus of information in a company. I view us as what’s absolutely integral to make companies run. I look at us as business partners to all of the different departments in a company."