At the 2013 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum in Chicago on Nov. 6, Daniel Florness, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Fastenal Company, and Svetlana Vinokur, Director of Capital Markets at Illinois Tool Works, participated in a Fireside Chat. The pair discussed how the role of finance professionals has changed over the past few years, along with what the future holds for these employees.
According to Florness, the role of finance professionals has changed dramatically, but its basic premise remains intact. Florness noted that his organization’s finance department is focused on basic economics, which has helped it succeed: “Never lose sight of the basic economics, the fundamentals of your business … You always have to keep that foundation of what is your cash-to-cash cycle and how does this or this not impact you.”
In addition, Florness noted that risk management and product quality are important for his organization. Technology is also crucial for an organization to succeed, Florness said, and should be a top priority for finance professionals. If an organization’s finance department examines ways to incorporate innovative tools into its everyday operations, Florness stated that finance professionals could simplify their everyday operations and collect valuable data: “Having good systems behind the scenes and quick availability of information is tremendous, but then being able to peer into that information and understand that this piece is different than what I expect, we don’t do a lot of repetitive things.”