The Redefined CFO: 3 key trends to watch out for

The role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is always evolving. According to new research conducted by Sage, 78% of Canadian finance leaders say their industry actually needs a new breed of CFO. 

 The main goal of the research is to understand the changing roles of CFOs, the challenges you face, and your plans to embrace emerging technologies.  

 Highlights of the report include: 

  • CFOs recognize that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and automation will all be crucial technologies for organizations to integrate. 
  • Finance leaders have plans to accept cryptocurrencies. 
  • CFOs believe non-traditional skills are needed to shape the future of the profession. 
  • Two thirds (68%) of finance leaders believe they are underappreciated. 
  • Three types of CFOs are emerging: Chief Facilitative Officers, Chief Fairness Officers, and Chief Future Officers. 

Let’s take a closer look at three key trends revealed in the report, and three types of CFO you could be. 


 CFOs say technology adoption is crucial 

The pandemic transformed the way we live and work all over the world. Not only are customers behaving differently, but businesses are innovating more as the need to invest in digital becomes more compelling than ever.  

In response to this change, the role of senior decision makers has also been redefined. For Canadian finance leaders, responsibility for digital, strategy, and social aspects of their organizations has increased. 

These CFOs believe digital transformation is fundamental to providing businesses with the agility and scalability needed to thrive in today’s landscape.  


CFOs are embracing emerging tech 

A quarter of you say integrating emerging technologies is your organization’s top priority after increasing sales and revenue. That’s ahead of developing new products and services (13%) and enhancing sustainability programs (10%). 

For example, more than half (51%) of CFOs say their organization has progressed in entering the metaverse (where digital and physical lives converge). And 38% of you say your organization has plans to accept cryptocurrency as payment within the next 12 months, with platforms such as Sage Intacct in place to support them. 

CFOs admit a new mix of skills is needed 

Canadian CFOs—and their peers across the globe—play an instrumental role in driving the digital transformation that is required in today’s world.  

92% of Canadian finance leaders agree it is important for CFOs to have the necessary skills to drive adoption of new technologies and solutions. 

In the report, 92% of Canadian finance leaders agree it is important for CFOs to have the necessary skills for driving the adoption of new technologies and solutions. 

Which is why many you are now prioritizing technology skills over financial experience—and therefore changing the kinds of skills you look for in new employees. 

The report talks about how the emergence of big data and the increase of artificial intelligence (AI) functionality within financial software has led 40% of organizations to target job candidates with deep data and AI expertise.  

It’s clear from report findings how CFOs believe digital transformation is fundamental to providing businesses with the agility and scalability they need to thrive in today’s landscape.  

 The three types of CFO  

Daniel Oh, Country Manager for Sage Canada, recognizes how CFOs are changing with the times.  

“Canadian CFOs have adapted to a changing landscape, shaping roles that increasingly go beyond their core business unit,” he says. “Today, we see CFOs who are increasingly steering their businesses towards greater efficacy, fairness, and innovation.” 

The Redefined CFO explores three types of finance leaders: Chief Facilitative Officers, Chief Fairness Officers and Chief Future Officers 

Oh’s comments are backed up by the report, which talks about how a new breed of CFOs with non-traditional skills and responsibilities are required to shape a successful future.  

The report defines three  types of CFO. Some respondents already conform to these, while others aspire towards them: 

  • Chief Facilitative Officers are responsible for making decisions that matter and getting the job done. Over half (54%) of Canadian CFOs interviewed claim to be most like a Chief Facilitative Officer. 
  • Chief Fairness Officers are empathetic and understand that a business is defined by its people, not its profits.  
  • Chief Future Officers are focused on a variety of forward-looking issues, such as how to integrate new and emerging technologies into their organization. 

 What’s next? 

 The redefined CFO is capable of taking on a range of responsibilities while driving the adoption of new technologies and initiatives.  

As part of this new generation of CFOs, you have more opportunities than ever to make a positive impact within your organization and beyond. 

Get ready for the next step in your evolution as a finance leader by downloading our latest report: The Redefined CFO.