Executive Newswire 16: Financial Leadership in Challenging Times

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The Online Executive News for Corporate

Having survived the clashing rocks of reforming companies’ structure during the severe economic crisis, the role of the CFO has been altered drastically, not only in terms of the required multidimensional traits and qualifications, but also as to the strategic contribution expected. That same economic crisis placed the CFO to the forefront, with the primary goal to keep intact the viability of each organization and adapt to the new financial circumstances of the market. The consistent monitoring of accounting and tax obligations, as well as the accurate depiction of the financial status aiming to keep the Management informed, are not sole success factors of Financial Executives anymore.

Seemingly, the new era has forged the Business Partner CFO into a Streetfighter, Change Agent and Driver of every effort of corporate restructuring & reengineering. Cash-Flow management, Credit Control and Treasury Funding are the ultimate priorities of the financial management in order to achieve Sustainability. The goal is to gradually return to growth by applying the healthiest possible financial practices.

Specifically for the Greek organizations, the relevant experience along with in-depth knowledge and accessibility to the modern tools, treasury sources and structured finance are deemed necessary assets for a CFO in order to tackle the capital controls and the dwindling of the bank financing. On the other hand, in the multinational companies, the global trend for centralization of the supportive functions, the establishment of shared services centers and the continuous shrinking of the Greek market in many cases lead to the diminishing of the Finance Director role’s importance and seniority. Furthermore, in some cases the Finance Director is replaced by a person in charge of financial controlling & analysis. As a result of all the above, the CFOs focus on regional roles that might encompass relocation/expatriation to more developed countries.

In medium term, the market’s focal point for the next 2-3 years will fixate upon the restructuring of bank corporate loan portfolios. This will generate opportunities for CFOs with relevant experience in turn-arounds, who potentially will operate as CROs (Chief Restructuring Officers). They will operate within organizations, placed whether by a bank or an advisory firm involved in the reengineering process. The certainty is that, at all times and financial circumstances, every CFO must assert and achieve to be a Strategic Partner who will reinforce the effective implementation of the mission and ensure the accomplishment of the corporate business plan objectives.

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