Beyond the Balance Sheet: Women CFOs in Financial Services

Published November 2, 2022 | 2 min read

Our inaugural Women CFOs in Financial Services Symposium inspired conversations across a wide range of topics, including the expanding role of the CFO across ESG, broader strategy, and the war for talent.

Key Points:

  • CFO responsibilities are expanding beyond accounting and financial reporting to include strategic influence on areas such as sustainability, corporate development, talent development, and regulatory risk.
  • To help companies navigate geopolitical uncertainty and economic volatility, CFOs will be expected to be even more knowledgeable about macroeconomic dynamics.
  • CFOs and financial services companies have the expertise and capabilities to take the lead on ESG reporting and meet growing shareholder and client expectations.
  • The heightened regulatory landscape will mandate that CFOs ramp up oversight, anticipate risks, and ensure they stay ahead of emerging regulatory initiatives.
  • To drive talent, CFOs will need to consider how to recruit and engage Gen Z.

We recently convened a leading group of women CFOs and industry experts, who shared their thoughts on the catalysts of change impacting and shaping the role of CFOs in the financial services industry. Now more than ever, the mandate of a CFO is expanding as financial services companies increasingly leverage their unique insights and backgrounds to gain perspectives on sustainability, corporate strategy and development, regulatory risk, and human resource matters.


The economic backdrop now drives CFO decisions and leadership

To help their companies strategically navigate geopolitical uncertainty and economic volatility, CFOs will need to seek thought leaders’ and experts’ advice and perspectives on macroeconomic dynamics. Staying ahead of the curve on ever-evolving issues such as interest rates, unemployment, the global energy crisis, and the recession is key to assessing the competitive advantages of their companies in a post-COVID world.  


ESG reporting standards are coming (and CFOs are likely to be responsible for them)

Shareholder awareness and focus on sustainability grew dramatically during the pandemic. Companies will seek to leverage the unique insights and capabilities of CFOs and finance organizations to meet heightened ESG expectations and take the lead in the reporting process.

While ESG reporting can be viewed as just a regulatory and investor necessity, CFOs can help management teams and Boards of Directors develop and leverage it as a tool to maximize both strategic and financial opportunities for their companies.


Regulatory uncertainty is a certainty

Hot button issues such as ESG reporting standards and electronic communications have come under intense scrutiny. The heightened regulatory landscape and recent recordkeeping failures will drive CFOs to further leverage their vantage point to ensure best practices and compliance.   

Rather than reacting to regulatory matters, legal risks, and enforcement, CFOs will need to anticipate them, and continuously reevaluate best practices to ensure their companies are staying ahead of changing regulatory initiatives.


Talent is now a CFO issue

In the post-pandemic world, talent acquisition and retention is top of mind for companies. CFOs will be expected to offer new and creative ways to engage with Gen Z and top talent to address their flexibility needs and sustainability expectations, including articulating a cohesive ESG strategy.

To help build productive and efficient teams, CFOs will have the opportunity to use their soft skills as coaches and mentors by leading with authenticity and displaying trust, offering higher levels of engagement, and providing actionable feedback.

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