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The Strategic CFO: Managing Risk in a Disruptive World

CFOs and risk management

We live in a dynamic environment of constant disruption and the CFO’s role in managing their enterprise’s risk is expanding. Organizations are facing not only a rising level of risk, but a faster pace of change as there is limited time to identify, evaluate and direct or redirect an organization’s strategy. Disruption is here to stay and the role of the CFO has become much more than just the numbers – he or she must possess key strategic skills to effectively manage risk and respond to change in a timely manner.

Lead through disruption with agility

Today’s CFO needs to be extremely agile and become adept in these areas:

  1. Learn – Constantly learn more, not just about finance, but overall business and economic trends.
  2. Identify – Analyze and understand visible trends within your organization, industry and region.
  3. Challenge – Ask questions and challenge biases and the status quo.
  4. Prepare – Surprises are inevitable so prepare to face uncertainty and be able to pivot quickly when potential challenges or opportunities arise.

Manage talent disruption

Attracting and retaining qualified employees was the top concern of CFOs participating in Duke University and CFO Magazine’s Global Business Outlook Survey in late 2017. With the national unemployment rate just over four percent, economists have declared the country is nearing “full employment”, meaning the rate doesn’t have much further to fall. As a financial leader, you need to assess the current state of your business environment to determine where you have strengths or opportunities for improvement in finding and retaining key talent in the finance department.

Embrace digital disruption

Technology is redefining how work gets done and this creates new opportunities for finance. However, digital disruption also creates the potential for a digital divide: if members of the finance team lack the necessary skillsets and business acumen, they may not be able to make the most of these new digital capabilities. CFOs should keep the following top of mind:

  1. Digital transformation requires leaders with the ability to disrupt, lead and evolve at an exponential pace.
  2. Leveraging new technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics, robotics, and artificial intelligence tools can lead to efficiencies, as well as faster and deeper insights into the business.
  3. Cybersecurity continues to be one of the top five risks of a corporation, and a key aspect of a CFO’s role is to help manage that risk. CFOs need to learn and build the competencies to successfully address this challenge.
  4. Finally, CFOs should develop a strong relationship with their organization’s CIO. The connection between the two positions has become more critical than ever as digital disruption continues to rise.

Moving forward

For more information on how to manage risk in today’s disruptive world, contact AGH Cindy McSwain using the information below.

Cindy McSwain

Senior Vice President,
Outsourcing Services
Cindy McSwain leads AGH’s outsourcing services group. Her team provides payroll, accounting, funds disbursement, controller, and other financial outsourcing services to numerous clients throughout the U.S. Prior to directing the outsourcing group, Cindy served AGH’s audit clients for 10 years, working with a wide range of middle-market, closely held and family-owned clients.

Her current clients cross many industry sectors, including manufacturing, distribution, restaurants, retailers, medical, and not-for-profit. She has participated in numerous SEC filings and public registrations and has experience in mergers and acquisitions. Cindy is a certified public accountant and a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Cindy McSwain
Cindy McSwain
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