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CFOs More Likely To Be Strategic Resource To Company, Says Report

CFOs are taking a greater part in the strategic initiatives of their companies

CFOs are taking a greater part in the strategic initiatives of their companies, according to a series of interviews that were held by consulting firm Ernst & Young LLP and contained in a report called "Views. Vision. Insights. The evolving role of today's CFO."

The document, which was released on June 12, polled CFOs working at several major companies headquartered in the United States, including Archer Daniels Midland, Coca Cola, Nike, Xerox and Ralph Lauren.

Ernst & Young LLP held the interviews to gather the perceptions of CFOs of companies based in in the United States. The desired result was to obtain information gathered by research done by the consulting firm in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa.

The survey also indicated that the executives are taking on additional tasks outside their more traditional finance responsibilities, and that they are reported being highly likely to enjoy their jobs. Some of these business leaders have stated a desire to explore roles outside of finance, including positions as chief executive officer.

"Both here in the Americas and around the world, the role and responsibilities of CFOs are rapidly evolving. Their organizations are giving them wider scope and demanding that they have a broader set of skills in addition to fundamental skills in finance and expertise in investing and managing capital," Tom McGrath, senior vice chair, markets at Ernst & Young LLP, said in the statement. "Ernst & Young conducted these interviews not only to examine and understand how the CFO role is changing, but also to share the insights with a wider business audience and provide actionable strategies for developing the next generation of CFOs."

The survey also contains data for finance execs who want to rise to the role of CFO and how they can prepare themselves to take on the responsibilities. Business executives from a wide range of industries including financial services, airlines, consumer products and manufacturing took part in the polling.

"Today's CFO requires more breadth of experience and versatility than ever before and the next generation of CFOs must possess a vastly broader set of skills than its predecessor," Myles Corson, markets leader for the Financial Accounting Advisory Services practice at Ernst & Young LLP, said in the statement.

The finance executive described people in this highly-visible finance role as being "thoughtful" and "even visionary." 

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