The changing face of CFOs

Chennai: With machines largely taking over number crunching, the role of chief financial officers (CFO) is turning to be more strategic than ever before. While CFOs of today have more but challenging avenues to raise finance-within and without- India- that is not the only function.

Says K Sridharan, executive director-Finance, Ashok Leyland Limited and chairman, of the The India Finance Forum (TIFF) "CFOs are now better placed to play an active role in a company's growth strategies as well as to assess business risks. They are also ideal candidates for the CEO's post."

He was addressing the two-day conclave, `Emerging global trends in corporate finance', held under the auspices of the Confederation of Indian Industry Southern Region (CII-SR), which has structured TIFF as a platform for finance professionals to meet, deliberate and share experiences in best practices with the conclave as its maiden event.

In line with the new role of CFOs, apart from covering normal finance topics like innovative fundraising methods, the seminar also covers other topics like corporate governance, risk management and value creation.

Prof Bala V Balachandran of the US-based JL Kellogg School of Management, in a video conference address stated, CFOs are ideally placed to become the chief risk officers (CRO). According to him CFOs should become the internal consultants for corporates, as they are familiar with strategic choices, business processes and critical business issues.

Introducing the topic, `governance-driven corporate finance' T Anantha Narayanan, past chairman, CII Tamil Nadu and advisor, Ashok Leyland said, corporate governance norms should be expanded to unlisted companies and non government organisations (NGO) as well.