Understanding the Challenges of CFOs

By Daniel Kobialka

A chief financial officer's ability to understand the corporate environment is critical. However, many CFOs struggle to manage various everyday challenges, but numerous solutions are available to help these business leaders overcome such issues.

Shailesh Bettadapur, Vice President and Treasurer for Mohawk Industries, said during an Argyle Conversation that the finance sector has changed dramatically over the past few years. As a result, more CFOs have tailored their responsibilities to specific business models, which has helped these officials stay relevant in today's economic climate.

"For example, an accountant’s focus will typically start with earnings and margins," Bettadapur said. "But in a finance model, which can take many different forms, you just won’t count those things in the first place. You’ll get to the same place, making the model mechanics unimportant, but each provides a window into how the different disciplines think."

In addition, several CFOs have reviewed their financial leadership initiatives. By doing so, these administrators have helped their organizations grow exponentially in short periods of time.

"Finance provides overall leadership in setting the financial policies and beliefs for different organizations to use in considering strategic options in serving customers," Xia Liu, Vice President of Southern Company, said. "For instance, Southern Company treats financial integrity as a top priority in our customer-focused business model. Our investment policy considers whether a potential opportunity would strengthen or weaken our company’s financial integrity."

Analytics also provide significant value to many CFOs. Raj De Datta, Chief Excecutive Officer of BloomReach, points out that his company has been successful thanks to state-of-the-art technology it uses to analyze its everyday operations.

"I think we’ve hit on the two big [technologies] – big data and mobile. Those are the technology trends and consumer trends that are driving the future here," De Datta said.