Why CFOs need to look beyond the figures

Adrian O'Connor - September 29 2017

Beyond the figures
Identifying opportunities to significantly increase margins is a skill which is revered in accountancy – but failing to see the big picture can have quite the opposite effect.

While we don’t yet know how Toblerone sales have fared since maker Mondelēz made the bold decision to cut down its triangle content – or if Nestlé Whips are still flying off the shelves without the walnuts – it’s fair to say that the news was not well received by paying consumers.

Emotional intelligence

For some, looking at the wider context surrounding what they perceive to be a no-brainer business decision may go against every instinct. But while being technically brilliant can get you so far in accountancy, only those with highly developed emotional intelligence will ever make it to the top.

We’ve previously blogged on the importance of soft skills in accountancy. And this extends to being able to absorb and contextualise information from varied sources, rather than pinning pivotal decisions on a single cell on a spreadsheet.

Striking the right balance

‘Shrinkflation’ and ‘decontenting’ are now default solutions to maintaining profit or increasing margins without hiking prices. But striking the right balance relies on a different kind of business savvy. Essentially, knowing how far you can cut to the bone before perceived brand value drops in the eyes of employees, customers or other stakeholders is vital. And in an age when technology is taking greater responsibility for crunching the numbers, human intuition is a valuable commodity.

Looking beyond the figures

The rise of AI in accountancy means that the clients we work with are increasingly seeking CFOs and other senior leaders who can take a holistic, measured, ‘human’ perspective on change. Those who can demonstrate an ability to look beyond the figures and sign-off decisions which boost profits, without inciting public outrage, stand the best chance of success.

You can check out our current vacancies on the Global Accounting Network website.

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