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BW Businessworld

In Pursuit Of Future CFO

The rankings are an honest attempt to identify and recognise the leaders of the future and bring them under the limelight they deserve

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The key responsibility of a CFO is not limited to finance, accounting and the company’s investment activities. Today, CFOs are expected to perform at the core execution of corporate strategy — both organic and inorganic. But what about tomorrow’s CFO? What qualities should the future CFO possess? Who can fit the role?

In a first-of-its kind initiative, India’s fifth largest private sector bank Yes Bank and BW Businessworld have joined hands to identify and nurture a vibrant talent pool comprising the Gen Next of CFOs of India Inc. under the aegis of Yes Bank BW Businessworld Most Promising Future CFO. This talent pool will be groomed by members of the Yes Bank National CFO Forum in order to support them in emerging as India’s future business leaders. The forum will also help CFOs build succession pipelines, and thereby leave behind a legacy.

Why it Makes Sense?
An often understated virtue of a good leader is his ability to set the stage for the times that he would no longer be around — identifying a crop of talented “next rung” executives and grooming them for the top job, so as to ensure a smooth transition and continuity at the workplace. While its value is beyond question, very often CFOs cannot devote adequate time and attention to this important task, caught up as they are in their daily routine. It is here that the Yes Bank BW Businessworld Most Promising Future CFO aims to make a difference, setting a stage conducive for the leaders to take off some time and ponder over “Who After Me?” This initiative will allow CFOs to dwell upon the attributes that tomorrow’s leaders will need to possess, carefully weigh the trade-offs between different traits and provide an objective rating. The exercise should result in an accurate mapping of his “one–down’s” strengths and improvement areas. This will enable the emerging executive to understand where he stands in order to be a serious contender for the top job. The overarching aim of the Promising CFO Rankings is to sensitise organisations and their CFOs to this critical need — identify talent, hone skills, work on gaps and make them ready for bigger challenges.

New Age Rankings, Fresh Parameters
Evaluating executive performance is not a new phenomenon by any standards. While the number of recognition platforms proliferate, it is critical to understand if the evaluation criteria have been adjusted to reflect the changing business milieu. Business has changed a lot, in some sectors beyond recognition. Advent of latest technology and the social media explosion has catalysed this change. Heterogeneity between sectors has increased manifold implying that CFOs in two different sectors need to be judged on very different parameters. Similarly, today while evaluating a CFOs performance, it is much more imperative that we look at his grasp of things which are traditionally miles away from “Finance & Accounting” — be it IT, HR, Strategy or Communications. Today, a CFO is under greater stress and is often subjected to complex challenges and workplace situations ­— his character is being tested constantly. How he reacts to these situations is key to his success, which highlights the increasing importance of the mental aspect — hitherto ignored while building a framework for recognising employee performance at the highest level.

Looking to the Future
The rankings are an honest attempt to identify and recognise the leaders of the future and bring them under the limelight they deserve. It is expected that this attention will be beneficial to both the executive as well as the organisation, which should invest now to reap the benefits of a multi-skilled CFO in the years ahead. This initiative is a reflection of both Yes Bank as well as BW Businessworld’s firm commitment to work closely in collaboration with the CFO community and aid in grooming of the right set of talented emerging professionals. If this can generate a ready supply line of future-ready and confident CFOs, its purpose will have been served many times over.