The CFO’s role is dramatically changing at many organizations, with duties going beyond the traditional tasks of overseeing the finance, accounts payable automation, treasury and risk management functions. As organizations call upon CFOs to play larger roles in business strategy and organizational leadership, analytics tools will be vital for connecting strategy to finance and accounting, according to an article on

Spurring dialogue on this topic is “The Role and Expectations of a CFO,” a new discussion paper from the International Federation of Accountants. The report notes five key ways that CFOs serve organizations:

  1. Providing leadership and vision for the organization, in concert with other senior managers
  2. Leading finance and accounting departments and projects, including accounts payable management
  3. Balancing the needs of the enterprise and conserving organizational resources
  4. Having the ability to integrate and navigate throughout the organization
  5. Modeling overall professionalism

The report stresses that CFOs need to do more than provide data; they must also transform financial data into actionable insights that reflect the internal and external realities of the business environment.

To meet this challenge, CFOs need a robust analytics platform. The analytics tools need to be powerful enough to integrate hundreds of enterprise information sources and then present the information in meaningful, user-friendly dashboards and reports. With the right software, it’s relatively simple for finance leadership to present enterprise data in compelling and actionable reports, providing management with tools for spotting trends and analyzing performance.

As the CFO’s role continues to evolve, analytics will likely play a crucial role in helping to connect business strategy and finance data. An easy first step is to analyze your company's expense reports to spot spending trends, the true cost of customer acquisition, even travel policy compliance.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Do you see this shift toward more strategic roles for CFOs as a positive development or a potential hazard? Share your thoughts below in the comments section!


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We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic. Ben Zastrow Zelle