Global Survey Reveals Dramatic Shift in Finance Leadership Across Industries

14 December 2023

By Caroline Graham

Global Survey Reveals Dramatic Shift in Finance Leadership Across Industries

​In an industry defined by rapid innovation and change, the role of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) has evolved dramatically, extending far beyond the traditional bounds of financial management.

Finance professionals must understand this evolution as it offers valuable guidance to those aspiring to leadership roles in the finance sector. We conducted a survey of over 600 CFOs from a variety of sectors globally to shed light on this transformation, how they are coping, and how professionals can action these insights to enhance their careers.

Today's Finance leaders face unprecedented complexities and challenges in a dynamic business environment. They are no longer just guardians of financial management but are strategic partners within their organisations.

Our survey reveals that 57% of CFOs reported a significant change in their responsibilities, emphasising a shift toward strategic decision-making. This is a testament to their growing influence beyond traditional financial roles, as they are now integral in developing and executing the company's overall strategy.

The also survey indicates that 23% of respondents are focusing on general leadership across the business, demonstrating a broader, more integrated approach to their roles. CFOs are increasingly seen as leaders not just within finance departments but across entire organisations, leveraging their deep understanding of business dynamics and strong analytical skills.

10% of CFOs have shifted their focus towards transformation in response to regulatory and digital changes. This highlights their adaptability and key role in driving organisational change. The rise of digital technologies has been a significant factor in this transformation, with over half of the CFOs acknowledging the benefits of digital advancements in streamlining operations and enhancing decision-making.

The integration of technologies like ERP systems, BI tools, AI, and ML has revolutionised financial management. These tools have not only automated routine tasks but have also enhanced forecasting and fraud detection capabilities. This technological shift is crucial for CFOs to manage the increased pressure for speed, decisiveness, and flexibility in today's fast-paced business environment.

The transformation in the role of CFOs, as revealed by the Phoenix Global CFO Survey 2023, marks a significant shift in the world of finance. As the responsibilities of CFOs expand to encompass strategic decision-making and leadership across businesses, finance professionals must adapt to these changes.

The full report from this survey provides insights that are invaluable for aspiring finance leaders and CFOs. Understanding the evolving role of the modern Chief Financial Officer is crucial in preparing for future challenges, risks and opportunities in the finance sector.

The survey's insights not only reflect the current landscape but also provide a roadmap for those aiming to excel in finance leadership roles, making it an essential tool for current and aspiring finance leaders.

Click here to download the full report.
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