Accenture’s recent global research, “CFO Now: Breakthrough Speed for Breakout Value,” found that the CFO’s role is evolving rapidly in both the government and commercial sectors. Leaders are increasing their influence, by optimizing core business and financial processes and by transforming enterprise data into the strategic, real-time, and predictive insights they need to navigate today’s escalating pace of change.
The challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have accelerated this trend. The role and scope of the CFO function has expanded to include broader leadership and change agent responsibilities. Particularly within the federal sector, CFOs are taking on more responsibility to improve both the systems and processes within the financial management function to better serve their agency missions and goals. By automating their operations, becoming more sophisticated consumers of data, and by empowering their workforces to expand their capabilities, CFOs have been able to lead with confidence at the faster cadence that today’s environment demands.
Within the federal government, CFOs face the added burden of ensuring organizational continuity, as large numbers of seasoned employees become eligible to transition out of the federal workforce, leaving gaps in institutional and business knowledge. By taking advantage of maturing commercial technologies and embracing more agile operating models, CFOs can overcome these constraints while enhancing financial and operational performance.
Our research tells us that successful federal CFOs play three distinct roles within their agencies: