Business summit: From conformance to a leadership role

Businessmen gather for CFO Conference 2014.


Our Correspondent March 13, 2014
was attended by more than 600 professionals from the finance and business communities. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: In the contemporary business environment, the role of the Chief Financial officer (CFO) has advanced — from a traditional role of providing financial insights and analysis to a supporting one where strategies are shaped and key business initiatives are taken as the financial leader.

This was stated by financial experts at the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Conference, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), which was attended by more than 600 professionals from the finance and business communities.

ICAP’s professionals constitute a vital part of the industry and it is incumbent for the institute to cater to their needs and expectations, said ICAP President Naeem Akhtar Sheikh. The ‘CFO Conference’ over the years has emerged as a platform where professionals in business and industry meet to explore, confront and look for solutions to meet the challenges and issues of modern business era.

He also discussed the emerging role of CFOs as value integrators at large, expanding their influence beyond financial decisions to broader strategic choices about their business, citing the challenge to balance and achieve excellence in all roles.

Sheikh supported the significance of governance in the system and training finance teams with modern technology. He pointed out the qualities CFO must possess like patience, flexibility, strategic orientation and independent thought.

Kamran Mirza, CEO Pakistan Business Council, while emphasising the role of CFOs as a strategic partner to the CEOs, said that transformational leadership will result in creating synergy and building strong teams. He added that CFOs need to apply vision, determination and, above all, a steady and methodological pace to reap the benefits across the organisation. To be effective, continuous education is a must.

Abdul Aleem, Secretary General Overseas Investors Chambers of Commerce and Industry, elaborated on how to create an enabling environment for growth in the Pakistani economy.

“Our resilient economy has absorbed multi-dimensional shocks over the years,” he said, adding that the government has to have a national economic agenda to steer the country out of the crisis, for which a robust political will and commitment are needed.

Panel discussions were also held on different topics like the role and expectations of a CFO – preparing accountants for finance leadership, ROI-value versus profit among others.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2014.

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