DNA of the CFO

Examine the evolving role of CFOs and how today’s leaders are not only carefully mapping their own career paths, but also laying the foundation for the next generation of executives.

This EY research looks at how Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) can re-evaluate their own competencies, help drive strategy and innovation, and understand the external forces shaping the business environment. The report provides a snapshot of how Canadian respondents compare to their global peers and discusses the implications for redefining the path to a future finance leader.

Key Canadian highlights:

  • In order to build high-performing teams today while equipping tomorrow’s successors, CFOs must:
    • invest in developing new skill sets
    • foster exemplary leadership behaviours
    • encourage diversity
  • Compared to their global counterparts, Canadian CFOs are more conservative and risk-averse in their approach to developing essential skills.
  • Canadian CFOs prefer training and work-shadowing programs over hands-on leadership and exposure to board-level activities when it comes to cultivating the next generation of finance leaders.
  • The vast majority of Canadian CFOs (81 per cent), versus 62 per cent globally, believe that empowering women leaders to be role models for junior employees is the most important strategy to increase appointments of female finance executives to CFOs. 
  • Purposeful action by both men and women will be key to recruiting, retaining and advancing women in finance executive roles.
  • As Canadian businesses embrace the digital age, the role of big data and advanced analytics in strategic planning is also top-of-mind for Canadian CFOs, with nearly half (47 per cent) naming these as critical skill areas for future leaders, compared to 39 per cent of global counterparts.