BLI Leadership | Business Strategy | Ethics & Professional Issues | Leadership / Management

Moving from navigator to co-pilot

Sixty-eight percent of business and industry members say the title of chief financial officer does not adequately cover the scope and diversity of the role in their organizations.

One hundred percent agree that human capital is a key differentiator and competitive advantage for organizations.

One hundred percent say that finance / accounting needs to make the transition from navigator to co-pilot to remain relevant in the future.

These were just a few of the polling questions from our second town hall for business, industry, government and non-profit members.

About 200 CFOs, controllers, and management accountants came out for our semi-annual professional issues update featuring four hours of free CPE.

Special guests Arlene Thomas, the AICPA's senior vice president of management accounting and global markets, and Ashok Noah, the AICPA's vice president of external relations, gave an engaging presentation on fraud, risk management and innovation, the emerging role of the management accountant, and an update on the AICPA CGMA designation. (Seventy-six percent of our members said they were aware of the new designation and about 20 percent already have it.)

What were the biggest challenges facing Maryland CFOs and controllers?

  1. Keeping up with regulation and compliance.
  2. Health care costs and uncertainty in the program implementation.
  3. Finding time to keep up with technology and social media.
  4. Dealing with the uncertainty and lack of sustainability of the federal and state governments.

Several members indicated "finding employment," reflecting the continued tough economy.   Another highlight of the meeting was the announcement of the latest book from the AICPA / CGMA titled Communications: Methods and Applications for Financial Managers, which features several MACPA / CGMA members (Anoop Mehta, Tom Foard, Ken Kelly, Amy Weinreich, and yours truly), our Business Learning Institute, two of our BLI speakers (Greg Conderacci and Lin Kroeger), and content from our CFO roundtable last summer (What Keeps CFOs and Finance Pros Up at Night). Two of our global CFO / controllers (Brad Dickerson of Under Armour and Ken Kelly of McCormick) were featured on a panel at the AICPA's 125th Anniversary last May as well. We have been writing and offering training around communications, leadership, collaboration, and many of these "success skills" since we started BLI in 1999.   Pictured above is me with , MACPA Chrairman Anoop Mehta, Ashok Noah, and Ken Kelly with a copy of the new book.   Isn't it great to see all of the thought leadership and recognition of our MACPA business and industry leaders?   Here is a copy of my town hall presentation for business and industry members and a copy of Arlene and Ash's presentation.   Ash is an experienced pilot and gave a great metaphor about the changes in cockpit controls and the disappearance of the navigator as new technologies like HUDs and GPS have "automated" the navigator role. Are CFOs and controllers at risk for the same fate?   Not if they can continue to move up the value chain and get a seat at the front of the plane next to the pilot. As if on cue, Deloitte's latest report on CFOs idenitifies supporting strategy and innovation as their top priority for 2013.   This evolution of the CFO has been coming for quite some time, and it's great to see more and more awareness.    Do you agree? How are you making the move form the "navigator" to co-pilot?   Upcoming events for business and industry, government and not-for-profit members: