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What the CFO Needs to Know

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As the key cog in the wheel of a retail chain’s financial structure, today’s retail CFOs find themselves caught in the crosshairs of senior management and stakeholders demanding maximum profit and measurable growth amid increased consolidation and tightened revenues.

But that’s nothing new. Financial chiefs have always had to balance profit and loss with expansion strategies. What has changed is that a whole host of added responsibilities has now entered the mix.

In fact, according to Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution leader, today’s CFOs are expected to play four diverse and challenging roles — operators, stewards, strategists and catalysts — of which the latter two are new.

“As strategists, CFOs are shaping the overall direction of a retailer’s business, working directly with the CEO, Paul said. “They are vital in providing financial leadership and aligning business and finance strategy to grow the business. CFOs also are becoming catalysts and taking on an additional responsibility of instilling a financial approach and mind-set throughout the organization to help other parts of the business perform better. These varied roles make a CFO’s job more complex than ever.”

Going forward, the CFO’s involvement in defining and executing an overall strategy will continue to increase, according to Paul.

“They will also continue to change organizational behavior by partnering with other executives and senior management to achieve their financial and strategic objectives,” she added. (For more with Alison Paul on the expanding role of the CFO, see chainstoreage.com.)
 
In light of the expanding role of financial chiefs, CSA editors spoke with retailers and industry experts/consul-tants to identify insights and trends to help broaden a CFO’s understanding in six key areas: construction, data security, cloud computing, facilities management, sustainability/energy management and real estate. CSA also spoke with Massage Envy Spa CFO Greg Esgar about his expanding role in the fast-growing chain.

As the key cog in the wheel of a retail chain’s financial structure, today’s retail CFOs find themselves caught in the crosshairs of senior management and stakeholders demanding maximum profit and measurable growth amid increased consolidation and tightened revenues.

But that’s nothing new. Financial chiefs have always had to balance profit and loss with expansion strategies. What has changed is that a whole host of added responsibilities has now entered the mix.

In fact, according to Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution leader, today’s CFOs are expected to play four diverse and challenging roles — operators, stewards, strategists and catalysts — of which the latter two are new.


Related stories: 

What the CFO Needs to Know: Bird’s Eye View

What the CFO Needs to Know: Energy & Sustainability

What the CFO Needs to Know: Real Estate

What the CFO Needs to Know: Facilities Management

What the CFO Needs to Know: Cloud Computing

What the CFO Needs to Know: Data Breaches

What the CFO Needs to Know: Construction

 

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