At the recent Financial Executives International Conference in Maryland, we got a glimpse of the major issues and opportunities for CFOs. As the conference went on and the Twitter stream flowed, I saw three things CFOs need to master to become Chief Future Officers, which all organizations need:

  1. Technology (cloud, social, mobile, analytics)
  2. Talent (talent development, recruitment and retention)
  3. Time (making room for the future in the midst of the urgent)

Mike Walsh (pictured), a leading futurist, had some major insights about CFOs and the future, starting with this: “The financial leadership of an organization can make or break innovation.” 

This has been an ongoing conversation here at CPA Success, as the pressures on organizations to innovate intensifies and they need the discipline and expertise of their finance and accounting teams to lead those efforts. Mike emphasized the rapid changes and disruption caused by technology and closed with this: “The more you automate, the more you (and our team) will need to elevate.”

Then came my Innovation Lab session on social media for CFOs, where I started with a survey of the top challenges. The top five challenges (see slide 43 below) were:

  1. Talent development
  2. Being reactive vs. proactive
  3. Information overload
  4. Doing more with less
  5. Keeping up

This is where I believe social technologies can be a tool for CFOs to deal with these challenges and begin to master technology and time. Social technologies can help CFOs connect, collaborate, motivate, learn, and innovate. My presentation covered the latest research from McKinsey, MIT/Deloitte, and my own experience (my favorite tools are on slide 36 above). Here is an interview I did with FEI’s chief blogger, Edith Orenstein: CFOs Innovate and Motivate Using Social Tools. Want an example of social media for learning? Check out this Twitter recap; it is like seeing all of the keynotes from particpants at the conference. 

To paraphrase Mike Walsh, CFOs need to automate and elevate their game, leverage technology to make room for more future-oriented activities, and elevate their skills and those of their team. Do that and you are on your way to mastering the three big things — technology, talent and time.

We will be continuing this theme with lots of session around all three of these themes at our upcoming CPA Innovation Summit next Monday, June 16th at the Baltimore Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor – registration and details here.

Recaps of the conference:

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