An examination into the changing role of the chief financial officer in Irish listed companies: a 21st century perspective
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The role of the CFO is a hotly debated topic. Multiple articles have been written on the subject. Some have advocated that the CFO is now firmly a strategic partner in organisational life, while others see it as a financial cop, focused solely on the financial matters resulting from the organisations activities. The reason for such divided opinions is the result of numerous factors that have instigated change on the role. Such factors include the globalisation of business, IT and the movements towards a knowledge based economy. The study found that these numerous factors are indeed causing changes in the scope of the role. The changes they are instigating vary from factor to factor. Globalisation is forcing the CFO’s to become more strategic in their thinking, while the increased corporate governance and reporting burden resulting from the financial scandals appears to be impeding the CFO’s value adding activities. Changes in the role have impacted on the skills and characteristics that the CFO’s require. The study highlighted that integrity was deemed the most important, followed by financial expertise, strategic focus, leadership, and finally communication. Adopting a strict definition for the role of the CFO has been identified as inappropriate. The research highlighted that the role exhibits many differing traits to it. Some facets of the role involve strategic aspects, while others are typical of the ‘financial cop-type’ work. An appreciation of the diversity in the range and nature of the CFO’s tasks is required, as opposed strict definitions such as strategic partner, or financial cop. The future of the CFO is far from clear. While it may grow in its strategic influence within organisational life, the ‘financial cop-type’ traits of budgeting, project evaluation, and financial reporting are also likely to remain somewhat present for the foreseeable future.
- Theses - Business LYIT 
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