CFOs to build broader career experience

Future CFOs will no longer build a career vertically through the finance organisation, but will need deeper business acumen balanced with core finance understanding gained from a broader business career, according to a new report from ACCA and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants).

Nearly 750 CFOs from across the world were surveyed for the Future Pathways to Financial Leadership report. Many had taken classic finance career paths and most had moved up to the CFO role from a position as financial controller. Almost 50% had six or more finance roles within their career, but less than half (40%) had taken a role outside the finance function in their careers.

Jamie Lyon, ACCA head of corporate sector and author of the report said: 'We can expect a different premium to be placed on the capabilities that will really matter for future finance leaders. The survey suggests you can't get away from the need for retaining baseline finance skills, but there's so many more capabilities future CFOs will need to bring to the table too.'

The survey showed that the 'classic' career path of current CFOs was largely domestic in nature, but responses indicated that this is set to change, with 27% of CFOs having spent any time in an international role, and 25% having worked in an emerging market.

Raef Lawson, IMA vice president of research, said: 'Traditional career routes through the finance organisation are being disrupted. In some respects they're much less obvious. The current crop of finance leaders is adapting to the changing role of the CFO, which requires a broader, strategic approach to the business, and they can see that gaining those skills early on in the career journey will be a major benefit to the future CFOs.'

ACCA has announced Martin Turner is to be ACCA's President for 2013/14. Turner qualified with ACCA in 1976 and became a Fellow of ACCA (FCCA) in 1981. He is currently a freelance management consultant, advising the health sector in countries including Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Serbia, having worked as a chief executive in the NHS in the UK and the Australian health services. He is also the finance director of a small company in the UK.

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