A CFO is amongst a rare breed of people who is not just responsible for his own function/ department but is also required to contribute to the other functions within an organization. The CFO now has to straddle and importantly contribute to the company’s business functions. The CFO is often labelled as someone who is conservative, takes a very ‘numerical’ view of the business and does not understand the business intricacies.
Companies think hard when it comes to investments or spends relating to diversification to new geographies, new product introduction, Capex, R&D, marketing spends, M&A activities etc. While there is always a sense of optimism associated with any new initiative, these need to be viewed from a stand point of whether the spends will generate reasonable returns over a finite time frame. This is where the role of the CFO becomes crucial. The CFO here not just need to look at situations like these from a numerical stand point but also need to understand the underlying business assumptions that make up the spreadsheets.