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ACCA/IMA Report Predicts End of the 'Classic' Finance Career

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09/24/2013 | 10:03am EDT

Survey of 750 CFOs reveals understanding of strategy, risk experience and stakeholder management are key skills for future CFOs

Tomorrow's financial leaders will need a deeper business acumen balanced with a broader finance and business career. This is the view of nearly 750 CFOs worldwide who were surveyed for a new report, from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), "Future Pathways to Financial Leadership."

Many of today's CFOs have taken the usual finance stepping-stones toward the CFO role, but they believe tomorrow's CFOs will need new experiences to meet the evolving needs of business.

The survey revealed the "classic" career path of current CFOs was largely domestic in nature, but that is already changing. Twenty-seven percent of CFOs have spent time in an international role and 25 percent have worked in an emerging market.

Other highlights include:

  • The most popular stepping-stone to the CFO role was from financial controller.
  • Almost 50 percent of those surveyed had six or more finance roles within their career.
  • Forty percent of CFOs had taken a role outside the finance function in their careers and more may need to do so in the future.

Jamie Lyon, ACCA head of corporate sector and author of the report, said: "We can expect a different premium to be placed on the capabilities that will really matter for future finance leaders. The survey suggests you can't get away from the need for retaining baseline finance skills, but there are so many more capabilities future CFOs will need to bring to the table, too.

Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research, said: "The finance construct in larger organizations is changing. With shared services, outsourcing and increasingly global business service models, traditional career routes through the finance organization are being disrupted.

"The current crop of finance leaders is adapting to the changing role of the CFO, which requires a broader, strategic approach to the business, and they can see that gaining those skills early on in the career journey will be a major benefit to future CFOs."

Dr. Lawson added: "The whole point of seeking the views of today's global finance leaders about what the future CFO will need is to equip tomorrow's leaders for their roles. IMA and ACCA are both strong advocates of developing the finance career model around the world. The findings of this study give us insight into what the route to the ideal future CFO position should look like."

Mr. Lyon said: "If we fast forward 10 or 15 years, we can see some significant factors shaping the business landscape: faster business change, rebalancing growth across markets, new finance function models, the proliferation of information, and the advent of social, mobile and cloud technologies."

"These developments will impact how and where business is done and how the finance function operates. But also, it means the capabilities that finance leaders need will evolve, too."

A summary of the report is available at http://tinyurl.com/odudb8l. The full report is available through the ACCA/IMA Financial Leadership & Performance website at http://tinyurl.com/p2f9jzx.

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants with 162,000 members and 426,000 students in 170 countries worldwide. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

We work through a network of 89 offices and centers and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. www.accaglobal.com

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)

IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices.

IMA has a global network of more than 65,000 members in 120 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. IMA provides localized services through its offices in Montvale, N.J., USA; Zurich, Switzerland; Dubai, UAE; and Beijing, China. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org.

Marc Gerrone, 201-474-1502
Water & Wall Group
Andrew Healy, 212-625-2363

© Business Wire 2013

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