Now six weeks into my Summer Co-Op with The CFO Alliance, I have learned that while some 'old-school finance professionals' may think that the CFO's increasing focus on innovation exceeds the boundaries of the CFO’s responsibility, most of our CFO Alliance Members would strongly disagree.
I have been actively participating in our CFO Alliance Community activities and have gained so much knowledge from the discussions, the case studies, and from the Special Task Forces who are collaborating on best practice Reports by CFOs, for CFOs. The most recent group of Members have just released the latest Report -- The CFO’s Role in Understanding, Enhancing, and Communicating Value in the Customer Experience (I've linked the full Report here -- I hope you enjoy reading through it as much as I did!). In this Report, the perspectives offered by these finance executives spotlight their mandate that developing innovative solutions to address customer opportunities and issues is critical to enterprise success and that they are driving these efforts by encouraging and building teams and people who have the passion to innovate continuously. This Report explains the customer experience lifecycle and the ways to ameliorate that cycle while building trust with the stakeholders of the enterprise.
I have learned that CFOs must take the lead in embodying that spirit of innovation and willingness to adopt new ideas in consistent and authentic ways each day. In this digital age, every part of the enterprise is connected to finance and to 'the numbers.' When the business runs efficiently, customers are happy. Satisfied customers mean higher revenues and a healthy bottom line, which then translates to increased shareholder value. For most, that's the ultimate goal.
Even so, a CFO should not get stuck only on the numbers. If the entire enterprise is connected to ‘the numbers,’ then the CFO should tune into sentiment behind customer relations. When finance leaders address issues in the end-to-end business, they can create value and be an effective business partner to the rest of the enterprise. When that happens, they have an engaged and connected enterprise – one that is more innovative, dynamic, and customer-centric. And isn’t that what’s needed to thrive in the digital age we are all operating and competing in?