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CFO Perspective: Taking Action in Uncertain Times

Role reversal

Sam Silvers, Principal, Finance Transformation Practice Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

One of the chief financial officer's (CFO) most important jobs used to be advocating for restraint in the face of irrational exuberance during boom times. Pushing for cost discipline. Making sure the merger and acquisition (M&A) math adds up. And a lot more.

But that’s clearly not the challenge today. Many CFOs are exercising muscles they haven’t used in a long time. Rather than acting as the boring voice of reason, they’re starting to look for ways to more aggressively push the organization forward. That means that in organizations still operating with a bunker mentality, the CFO’s voice often runs counter to everyone else’s. They’re acting as a catalyst when the rest of the company is hunkered down.

Which is exactly as it should be. In good times, keep everyone grounded. But in tough times, it’s often the CFO alone who is in the right position to see investment opportunities — to make sure the right investments get the right level of funding. Today, there are few more important challenges for companies looking to come out of this downturn swinging. It’s up to the finance organization to be the internal engine of change.

Learn more about taking action in uncertain times in “Here Today. Where Tomorrow?”

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