The historical view of the Chief Financial Officer as a fastidious bean counter detached from the nuances of operational divisions is as far removed from the reality of modern corporate finance as paper ledgers and mechanical calculators.
With the continued evolution of financial and accounting software, the nature of finance has shifted from transactional and historical to real-time and analytical. CFOs are still responsible for traditional finance activities like FP&A, audit, compliance, and treasury management, but in the era of Big Data, effective CFOs additionally must become masters of business intelligence.
The key to meaningful business intelligence is the effective use of data, which has moved out of departmental information silos and into the operational realm. Once considered little more than a byproduct of a company’s business processes, data has become fuel for innovation and improvement.
In order to make effective use of company data, the modern CFO must understand the fundamentals of her company’s business. She must be more than a financial specialist, becoming an expert at using predictive insights to harness company data to drive corporate decisions.