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Are You Part Of The Solution or Part Of The 62% Non-Operators?

March 28th, 2013

If you have read my blog over the years, you know how much I have advocated the involvement of CFO’s in the day-to-day operations of a company. Maybe not necessarily leading the charge with the assumed role of COO or VP of Operations, but collaborative involvement with other members of the Executive team who oversee this area. When it comes to developing the budgets and forecasts of a company, it needs to be more than just a spreadsheet exercise. It needs to be based on a solid knowledge of the flow of resources through a company and what levers can be pulled to improve the operating results of the company.

This is why I was a bit surprised by a recent poll posted on CFO.com, which perceived most CFO’s to be poor operators and having very little involvement in that area of their company. A surprisingly high 62% were only “somewhat involved” or “had little or no involvement”. Regardless of whether you are overseeing a services-based firm and your operations involve labor productivity metrics & similar KPI’s, or you’re part of a manufacturing entity with a dynamic flow of resources, it’s your obligation as a CFO to be involved and have an intimate knowledge. If you have a COO or VP of Operations on your team, it’s your obligation to work EXTREMELY closely with that individual and not only ensure they have every level of support they need to perform to plan, but they are transparent in their results with you so that you can accurately forecast the results of the business.

With the companies that I have worked with, it has not been the home run sales contracts that have typically allowed me to report stellar annual results, but more the sustainable changes in operations that have led to an improved bottom line. Those changes will obviously be different for every company, but it’s diving in and analyzing all of the individual contributors and how they can be improved. If you’ve assumed the CFO role within your company, you are not in a position where you can just sit back and wait for the results to post. You have a team that you should be working with, supporting, and identifying the areas that can be improved, thus influencing the bottom line. If you’re part of that 62%, expect an eventual lesson in Darwinism and don’t be surprised if you’re no longer part of the herd.

Thanks for reading…

Jeffrey Ishmael

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