It is almost surreal to think we have been in this pandemic for more than a year since March 13th when the State of Emergency was declared in the US. Everyone is asking what will the ‘next normal’ look like? In order to glean what’s around the corner, I sat down with Jack in a recent #FutureReadyLive interview to get the latest on what he is hearing from the CFO Community. Jack is the President of the CFO Leadership Council, a global organization that’s dedicated to empowering the world’s senior financial executives.
Here are a couple of highlights from our interview:
Jack said the top thing coming through the pandemic is COMMUNICATION. And that includes listening as well as speaking. He went on to say that through the pandemic a recent study found that despite declines in public trust among politicians and government, people trusted their employers the most. of any other group. The CFO emerged as the most trusted professional in companies through the pandemic. The quick reactions at the beginning of the crisis, the constant projections and forecasts and communication through the pandemic elevated the CFO role to the most trusted advisor in the most trusted organization.
Our conversation quickly went to the pending return to work as vaccinations become reality. Jack expects many to explore hybrid, flexible back to work models. Jack and I both agreed that certain things like collaboration and innovation are best when in-person. That explains why most employers and employees are looking to a hybrid with a couple of days at home and 2-3 days at work.
The next topic was digital transformation. Jack said it well, if you do not have a digital strategy, your competitors certainly do. increase revenue, decrease costs, and increase collaboration and communication among your team. Listen as Jack provides a great example using Disney Plus.
Jack said, “Don’t think of yourself as a finance executive, think of yourself as a business/enterprise executive with an expertise in finance.” He emphasized the need to be more forward looking and less historically focused. We then talked about our CGMA Finance Leadership partnership with Jack and the CFOLC.
What’s next coming through the pandemic?
Growth, M&A is heating up and IPOs and SPACs are indicators of opportunities ahead. This growth has a challenge along with it – talent acquisition. Jack highlighted the war for finance and talent is heating up and will become a top issue for the year as we come though the pandemic.
We talked about DEI, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the role of the CFO. Jack channeled Elvis Presley and said we need, “a little less talk and a lot more action.” He emphasized the benefits of integrity and trust in your employees and the increased retention when you have a truly inclusive culture.
Jack’s final thoughts to CFOs, CGMAs and CPAs in business and industry, Congratulations for surviving, for making it through this pandemic. Congratulations for earning the title of the most-trusted advisor. Now it is time to turn your attention to the opportunities that lie ahead of us as we turn the corner on this historical moment in our lives. We are all in this together.
You can see Jack and me at his upcoming CFO Leadership Council conference, A New Hope, June 7-9, 2021 virtually. I hope to see you there!
More information about the CGMA Partnership:
The CFO Leadership Council is committed to developing the next generation of CFOs. We are confident that the CGMA Finance Leadership Program will provide aspiring CFOs the technical, business, and strategic leadership skills that they will need not only to earn the CFO Role, but to excel once in the position. We are excited to be able to partner with the CGMA to provide this benefit to our members and their teams.