Previously, the main objective of a CFO was the traditional functions of the position: monitoring cash flows and financial activities; acting as a controller and accountant; limiting unnecessary expenses; and ensuring that financial decisions were in accordance with standard operating procedures.

Of course, these tasks are still critical, but they are becoming more and more secondary to the strategic roles that CFOs are supposed to play. As the pace of business accelerates and technology advances, the modern CFO must adopt a broader, more forward-looking and growth-oriented approach to work.

The consulting firm Accenture captured this change in a 2022 survey and found that typical CFOs today spend most of their time driving company-wide efforts to transform and optimize business operations, with a focus on accelerating revenue and profit growth.

This is a new reality that I have seen in small and medium-sized fast-growing healthcare companies, where I have held a number of management positions. These companies not only expect you to be a functional CFO performing basic accounting tasks, but also to be a strategic CFO working with the management team to explore growth opportunities and maximize profitability.

How do you develop this Strategic Expertise? Through trial and error, I have learned that the most effective way is to focus on your existing financial capabilities and responsibilities —those functions that are already within your competence as CFO — and improve them in order to provide the strategic information that your company needs.

In this article, I share six areas that I recommend that you focus on. The skill development I am talking about can be widely applied to growing companies and used in a wide range — from split CFOs working with startups at after stages, interim CFOs in emergency situations or even CFOs employed by publicly traded companies.

When it comes to expanding and strengthening your existing skills, I discuss the simplest areas first. The last ones, especially the business vision, will probably take longer, but I guess you will find that it is worth it for you and your company to master them. I am attaching examples to show you how I put each of these concepts into action.

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