Change / transformation | Finance | Future-ready | Leadership | Personal development | Strategy execution / EOS

Podcast: CFO 2.0: Transitioning from navigator to co-pilot

This week we’re talking about the role of the CFO. It's a role that's changing, and pretty radically. Thanks to advances in technology and other disruptions, organizations are expecting their CFOs to play an increasingly strategic role – to actually help drive strategy in the organization, rather than just leading their department and crunching numbers.

It’s a fairly recent phenomenon, but it’s happening quickly, and getting up to speed on that is just the latest challenge that finance chiefs are facing.

Joining the show this week to offer some insight on the fluctuating world of corporate finance is Ash Noah, managing director of Learning, Education and Development with CGMA, the global association that the American Institute of CPAs formed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • What’s causing this change in the CFO’s role?
  • Why CFOs are well-suited to drive strategy within an organization.
  • The skills that CFOs and aspiring CFOs need to be focusing on.
  • Using data to change the business model & customer experience.
  • The CGMA competency framework.

Listen to our conversation here:



Report: 'Reshaping Finance: Building the Service Delivery Model of the Future' KPMG recently released a report called “Reshaping Finance: Building the Service Delivery Model of the Future,” and David McCann from wrote a terrific summary:

“Companies will increasingly use centers of excellence outfitted with data scientists, finance experts, and intelligent automation, KPMG says. These centers will analyze vast amounts of internal and external data to help the business answer such key questions as how to deploy capital, where to expand, and what product lines to grow.

“Consider the forecasting activity in a typical finance function today, the report suggests. With limited, backward-looking data and a plethora of spreadsheets, the forecasts are inefficient, inaccurate, and untimely. In the delivery model of the future, on the other hand, ‘the financial analyst, sitting in a virtual center of excellence, will be supported by machine learning to crunch through a variety of data sources to create faster, more accurate reports.’”

So, again, technology will enable finance professionals to move beyond number crunching and into a much more strategic role that helps drive the future of the organization.

And that brings us right back to this week’s guest. Ash Noah equates this evolution to the cockpit of an airplane. Way back when, you actually had navigators in the cockpits, sitting behind the pilots and pumping them full of data to help them fly the plane better. Now, technology allows those navigators to move forward into the co-pilot's’ seat and help fly the plane. That’s what CEOs are expecting of their CFOs today – moving from the back of the cockpit into the co-pilot’s seat.



William D. Sheridan