Volatile Economic Landscape Shapes the Future of CFO Role Says New Research from ACCA and IMA

Kristy Skowronski
Stern + Associates 
(on behalf of IMA)
(908) 276-4344 x208

Katrin Maier
Anat Gerstein, Inc.
(on behalf of ACCA USA)
(718) 793-2211


NEW YORK AND MONTVALE, N.J. – New research conducted by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) has revealed five key economic developments that will shape the role of finance leadership in the future. To view the full report, “Tomorrow’s Finance Enterprise,” visit: http://www.imanet.org/docs/default-source/acca/cfo_profiles.pdf?sfvrsn=2

The report highlights survey responses from 1,631 global ACCA and IMA members about their views on the skills, experience and priorities for current and future CFOs. Supplementing the research were a number of in-depth interviews with a variety of senior finance professionals.
According to the report, the five issues shaping the destiny of finance are: 

•    Volatility and risk 
•    Enterprise strategy supported by smarter finance delivery
•    An increased emphasis on intangibles in creating value 
•    New technology frontiers
•    The quality of talent available to the CFO function

“The instability of the current economic landscape has understandably brought new levels of scrutiny to the role of CFO and the effectiveness of investments. In many cases, this has demanded a cultural shift among finance teams, which are now required to operate in a much more ambiguous business environment,” said Jamie Lyon, ACCA’s head of corporate sector insights. “The assets that drive corporate wealth aren’t what they used to be. In the knowledge economy, intangibles such as data, information, brand and talent are central to future value creation for all sizes and types of businesses.”

The report also emphasized the importance of technology. “To propel business growth, finance leaders will need to continue prioritizing investments in technology,” said Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA’s vice president of research and policy. “CFOs have a responsibility to ensure digital, social, mobile, cloud and analytics become a strategic tool in driving enterprise change and increasing the role the finance function plays in overall business strategy.” 

Alongside an understanding of business strategy and technological developments, critical management skills and behaviors will continue to be prized in finance leaders. Also, talent development processes must evolve in order to keep up with the proliferating priorities and expectations of finance leaders. The ACCA/IMA research shows that as the role of the CFO continues to expand, it is becoming difficult to ensure finance professionals transition from a narrow focus on functional perspectives to a broader understanding of strategic leadership. The survey results reinforced the need for robust succession planning, coaching and mentoring practices in order to create long-term success in developing future finance leadership talent.

About ACCA
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. We support our 170,000 members and 436,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 91 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. www.accaglobal.com

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 70,000 members in 140 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Middle East/Africa. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org.

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