/** END Brainfish widget **/

In today’s episode of ‘From the eLearning Trenches,’ we asked one of our learners, a Virtual CFO, to review the level and value of input they provide to client board meetings and consider what can be done to improve their participation in these meetings.

Learner Reflection

I excel in actively involving myself in strategic and operational discussions (#3). As a CFO, I understand the significance of integrating financial insights into decision-making. By contributing to broader discussions, I provide valuable perspectives that align with long-term goals and support the client’s growth and success. My financial expertise combined with my understanding of the business’s operations allows me to enhance the value of my input during board meetings.

What can I do better:

Ensure Pre-Meeting Accuracy Discussion and Advance Reports: This step is crucial as it allows for any potential inaccuracies or discrepancies in financial data to be addressed before the meeting. Providing reports in advance enables board members to review and prepare questions, leading to more meaningful discussions during the meeting.

Focus on Meaning, not just Numbers, during Financial Reports Discussion: This step encourages a deeper understanding of financial reports, moving beyond mere numbers to comprehend their implications for the organisation. This approach helps board members make more informed decisions and supports strategic planning.

Involvement in Strategic and Operational Discussions: Engaging in discussions about strategic and operational matters demonstrates the CFO’s comprehensive understanding of the business. By actively participating in these discussions, the CFO can contribute valuable insights and demonstrate their strategic thinking.

Consistently Challenge and Ask Questions: Challenging the board and asking probing questions is an essential responsibility of the CFO. This fosters critical thinking and ensures that decisions are well-considered. It also helps uncover potential risks and opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Introduce New Topics and Develop Implementation Program: Bringing new topics to the board’s attention keeps discussions fresh and relevant. By developing a 12-month implementation program, the CFO can provide a clear roadmap for tackling important issues, fostering accountability and progress tracking.

Ensure Time for Strategic Discussions: Securing time on the board meeting agenda for strategic discussions is vital. Strategic matters often shape the organisation’s future, and the CFO’s involvement in such discussions ensures financial considerations are adequately addressed.

Document Commitments and Follow Through: Documenting commitments, timelines, and responsibilities fosters accountability and helps track progress. Following through in a timely manner demonstrates reliability and professionalism, which contributes to the CFO’s credibility.

 It’s a continual process of feedback and review to ensure that I am adding value to client meetings.

Feedback from our experts

Clearly the role of virtual CFO extends well beyond providing financial reports and discussing what they mean in terms of financial goals. In an ideal environment, the Virtual CFO has a broad understanding of business operations and is able to provide feedback and comments in relation to all business strategic and operational actions.

The financial reporting function is the foundation of this role. If data is not collected, processed and reported in an effective manner, there is little or no time available to focus on conversations that really add value. This is the reason that an effective virtual CFO may decide NOT to be involved in the production of financial reports. Setup of appropriate internal financial control and reporting systems within the client’s business may be the first step that allows the virtual CFO to focus on rich and deep conversations and insights into business performance and goals.

If you have virtual CFO clients, how are you handling this issue? Do you find that you are bogged down in producing financial reports, or have you been able to extract yourself from this function to focus on adding value at a strategic and operational level?

Key take-away

AS a virtual CFO, it’s important to focus on adding value through broad discussions in relation to strategic and operational goals.

This assessment task and response is taken from the Virtual CFO Essentials eLearning Course. Click here to explore this course

Also, take a look at the Virtual CFO Advanced eLearning Course

Discover the pulse of our eLearning community as we unveil daily feedback from enrolled learners. Exciting times ahead as we share this valuable information with the accounting, advisory, and administrative experts in public practice!