The finance function is playing an increasingly pivotal role in corporate operations. In many companies, the leader of finance is seen as a prospective successor to the CEO, and more and more CFOs are beginning to serve on corporate boards of directors. These bits of conventional wisdom are borne out by a recent survey by Korn/Ferry International.
The firm's Chief Financial Officer Center of Expertise polled 86 CFOs at large organizations and found that these leaders’ scope of influence is growing. When asked “Are you being asked to take on more or less operational responsibility?” three-quarters said they’re taking on more operational responsibility; one-quarter said they’re currently experiencing no change in their level of operational responsibility; and not one said they’re being asked to reduce the operational side of their role. (See Figure 1.)