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Singapore CFO & ACCA On The Modern Day CFO

In April 2012, the Singapore CFO Institute and the ACCA gathered for a roundtable discussion among Board Directors of different industries about the qualities of the modern-day CFO.

In a report released on June 22, named “The Value of the Modern CFO–Board Directors’ Perspective,” the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA), through a press release by the Singapore CFO Institute and ACCA, announced the findings of the said event.

According to the report, the CFO’s role has seen a rapid change, becoming more complex in a business environment that is in itself rapidly changing. The report also found that there is a “strong push for CFOs to operate as strategic partners in their organisations.”

The discussion also saw an agreement among Board Directors that all CFOs need to acquaint themselves with the risks their respective organisations are exposed to. These include financial risks, especially those that have something to do with derivatives and foreign currency, especially because Singapore is continually advancing as a global financial hub.

Other outputs of the discussion included insights saying that CFOs need not be qualified accountants alone, particularly given adequate technical support and resources from larger companies. CFOs, furthermore, were also recommended to “spend time in different business units to give them multiple perspectives on issues to develop systems thinking.”

Moreover, the report indicated that leadership and soft skills are far more important in CFOs than technical knowledge, especially in institutions imbued with technically rich resources. Singapore CFO Institute Chairman Olivier Lim was quoted as saying, “This roundtable sought candid perspectives from Board Directors who are key stakeholders in the value that CFOs bring to organisations. This approach was taken in conjunction with inputs from CFOs and embraces the philosophy we have adopted, which is to be ‘An Institute for Practitioners, by Practitioners.”