CFOs around the world are changing – but an EY survey says Canadians might be getting left behind.
The report, titled “DNA of the CFO”, found that 64 per cent of CFOs worldwide find their role evolving to include more strategic work. Canadian CFOs are following suit, but at 47 per cent, the rate is much slower.
While slow and steady sometimes wins the race, the lag might be harming companies in this case.
“The time Canadian CFOs’ spend on traditional finance functions like compliance, controls and costs management limits their ability to make a strategic contribution to their business,” says Terry McKay, Performance Improvement Partner and Finance Lead Canada at EY.
It seems Canadian CFOs don’t share the same priorities as their global counterparts. While 45 per cent of CFOs around the world are focused on developing and defining company strategy, only one quarter of Canadians are doing the same.
McKay believes the culprit might be inadequate finance function.
“Over half of global and Canadian CFOs don’t feel comfortable delegating responsibilities of strategic priorities because of a lack of necessary skills on their teams,” says McKay.
The good news is that Canadian CFOs are open to change: 69 per cent say they wish to improve their strategic risk management skills and experience, and 56 per cent prioritize sophisticated planning and forecasting capabilities for the finance function.
The next step is clear, according to McKay.
“Forty-four percent of Canadian CFOs know they need to develop an understanding of digital, smart technologies and sophisticated data analytics,” says McKay. “However, only 38% of our Canadian survey respondents were increasing time spent providing analysis and insight to support their business and senior management. That’s a gap CFOs need to address.”
“We’re seeing the CFO role evolve quickly and it’s a good idea for Canadian CFOs to mark their place in that evolution.”