CFOs to Start Focusing More on Change Management

I found the recent Wall Street Journal blog post, “CFOs Expect to Focus on Change Management,” interesting and insightful. The article explained the findings from a survey done by Accenture and Oracle that asked over 900 CFOS (Chief Financial Officers) what their key priorities have been for the past 3 years, and what they expect their key priorities as CFOs to be over the next 3 years.

CFOs expect to start paying closer attention to finance transformation and business transformation changes, as well as increasing investments in technology. Many companies delayed such work and focused on stabilizing their businesses during the financial crisis, as plans to make systems changes often require multiple years of effort…

“It’s easy to consume too many resources on making incremental changes when in fact what is needed is deeper business transformation,” Thibault de Tersant, chief financial officer of French software company Dassault Systemes, was quoted saying in the report. “The biggest barrier to change is that people only want to focus on legacy activities. As CFOs, we need to convince them to let go of activities that are not useful and focus on new ones that are.”

I think the engagement of CFOs in change management bodes well for all of us who are passionate about change:

  1. CFOs can help define successful change in true business terms. Quantifying business value can sometimes be a challenge for those of us who are not as close to exactly how our companies make money.
  2. CFOs have the ears of the other “C” level executives who will be needed for sponsorship and allocation of human resources to make the change a reality.
  3. CFOs can prioritize the funding, especially for large transformations that may take a year or more to implement fully. They can help justify the amount of time it will take to realize the benefits of the change and ensure the change remains on the priority list to see it through to delivery.

If it has been a challenge to obtain financial support for significant change in your company, see if your CFO has heard about this survey and if she/he agrees with its premise. Perhaps you will find a new champion to help you achieve the services, people, process, and technology transformations that will move your organization forward.

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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