The new age Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has to be an all-rounder as he/she is required to manage more complex processes arising out of new regulatory norms and technological advancements and be accountable to all stakeholders. This was pointed out by speakers at a meeting organised by Coimbatore Management Association recently.

The conventional CFOs’ roles and responsibilities were mainly confined to protecting the assets, minimising risks, getting the company’s balance-sheet right, and effective finance management. But the modern age CFO has much bigger tasks to manage.

“Now, it has fallen upon the CFOs to perform beyond the ambit of their responsibilities, and to do justice to his role the CFO has to find recourse in technology, said a statement quoting S Narayan, Member, Special Economic Advisory Committee, Tamil Nadu Government, and former Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister.

“The CFO will have to leverage technology to conform to the basic discipline of compliance. States such as Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu are increasingly adopting blockchain technology in keeping track of RT-PCR tests, property registration and finding solutions to grassroots problems respectively,” stated S Srinivas, CFO & Compliance Officer, Seshasayee Paper & Boards Ltd.

Discussing challenges for CFOs, Rakesh Patwari, Country Head Business Development, HSBC Bank Ltd, said that of late the financial landscape across the spectrum was changing. Especially, in the last two years, it was quite stressful on account of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the panel discussion on “Emerging contemporary challenges for CFO,” Editor of BusinessLine, Raghuvir Srinivasan, who chaired the panel discussion, said that the way the responsibilities are delineated for a modern CFO make one feel that a CFO ought to be a super human.

It has become a gargantuan task for the CFO to take care of the financial aspects of the company, keep an eye on the workforce, and comply with the norms prescribed by the regulatory authorities. Srinivasan wondered whether the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) was readying the CAs to cope with the modern-day requirements. 

Sai Bommadevara, Managing Director, PWC Risk Assurance Services, asserted that the cost of compliance would be much lower than the cost of non-compliance.