The Future-Ready CFO: Chief Future Officer

Are you a future-ready CFO, Controller or finance and accounting professional?

We start with the definition of future ready from the research by futurist Dr. James Canton in the CPA of the Future study he did for CPA.COM. He describes it this way, “The fast future is a collision of trends that are both drivers of productivity and progress as well as represent new competitive advantages. Companies, leaders, and entire industries that fail to adapt fast enough will not survive the onslaught of new disruptive changes—just now emerging on the horizon. We all need to become future ready; ready to “fast adapt.”  In other words, we have to step up our game.

Survey results – The Future-Ready CFO Report

At our most recent events for finance and accounting professionals in business and industry we did some extensive polling and discovered some interesting findings. These polls included over 350 CFOs, controllers and staff accountants in corporations, non-profits and government.

MACPA-BLI 2017 Research – CFOs and Controllers Survey from Tom Hood, CPA,CITP,CGMA

The top technologies that they believe will have the greatest impact can be categorized as follows:

  1. Mobile everything – business processes, smarter smartphones, mobile banking and payments, etc.;
  2. Big Data analytics and business intelligence;
  3. The cloud and virtualization of desktop and storage;
  4. Artificial intelligence and cognitive computing;
  5. Cyber-security

It seems that these technologies are both sources of and ways to combat disruption.

Cloud adoption is strong

An amazing 73 percent of those polled said they are in the process or already in the cloud with their work systems. Only 11% have not started.

Disruption of their business models is a top concern

63 percent of these accounting and finance professionals are experiencing moderate to severe disruption in their businesses while only 43 percent feel they are adequately preparing. This is a significant percentage and is up from last year.

So what are they doing to get ahead of this disruption?

  1. Increase efficiency;
  2. Improve customer experience;
  3. Improve business decision making;
  4. Transforming the business model;
  5. Improving innovation efforts.

It is noteworthy that these are all part of digital strategies and include internal (productivity), external (customer facing), and data analytics to analyze the business.

In conclusion, the future-ready CFO is aware, predictive, and adaptive of these major trends. They are adept at flipping the challenges into opportunities. They are a great combination of the old and the new, trusted steward and strategic leader and change agent.

We have identified this as a missing competency of ‘anticipation’ which includes the ability to see the visible future and understand the exciting opportunities that can be applied to the business.

Welcome to the fast future!

More resources to help you be the future-ready CFO:


2017 Business and Industry Conference on May 18th (simulcast available)

Controller Series: Key Business Concepts and Best Practice for 2017 on April 27th (simulcast available)

Government and Not-For-Profit Conference on April 28th

Quarterly Financial Series: Critical Thinking for Finance on May 17th (simulcast available)

Special discounts on these can be found here

Our on-demand learning options include the MBA Express and the Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition


Are you leading the transformation of finance and accounting?



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