Key Insights from CFO Live 2019

Xe Corporate North America

December 5, 2019 3 min read

Our Austin-based Corporate FX Specialist, Avery Staples, had the opportunity to attend last month’s CFO Live conference in New York. The two-day event, hosted by CFO Magazine and Argyle, was attended by over 400 CFOs and finance executives from across the globe.

Below are three of the biggest themes that emerged.

The CFO as Strategic lead

The role of CFO has been evolving for some time now. What was once a finance-driven accounting role is becoming more complex, and we’re now seeing an expectation for the CFO to step up as the strategic partner to the CEO and strategic resource to the board.

In today’s business environment, it is more important than ever for CFOs to seek out efficiencies by automating processes and working cross-functionally. This allows the CFO to deliver timely and accurate forecasts and budgets, plan for short and long-term success, and deliver actionable analytics to drive business decisions quickly.

With this in mind, it is crucial for CFOs to adopt a change mindset. Strong leadership will be a requirement of the CFO now and in the future – he or she will need to motivate, inspire, be cross-functional and drive the talent agenda.

Process Improvement

Accurate financial data provides the foundation for a strategic CFO and finance function. It is the business intelligence derived from this data that enables a CFO to take action on insights, identify opportunities and lead change.

It’s easy for a CFO to get bogged down while administering data and overseeing their teams’ work for executive reports. It makes sense then, that automating routine work, will enable a company’s finance function to be more strategic and effective.

Technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can automate many workflow processes and can be deployed quickly to digitize small tasks. By restructuring the finance function and identifying roles that can be automated, the quality of the work being automated is likely to be more reliable. More importantly, it allows a CFO to reallocate his team to more strategic functions and roles.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

To succeed in a role that is becoming broader and more complex, it is imperative for CFOs to break down silos and foster collaboration between departments.

According to this 2018 McKinsey survey, CFOs are uniquely positioned to break down departmental barriers to guide and sustain change in their organizations.

The results of the study indicate that CFOs are leading the charge towards digitization and automation. By embracing automation and digital technologies, CFOs are able to take the lead in driving efficiencies and adding value to their organizations. It is important to note that digital transformation cannot take place in a vacuum. These changes require organizational will and collaboration with other business leaders and departments.


The role of the CFO is rapidly evolving, requiring the CFO to step up as a growth enabler and strategic partner to the CEO and Board of Directors. As today’s CFO works to transform their finance teams by improving processes and promoting cross-functional collaboration, we will see an increased focus on strategic growth initiatives.  

Avery was encouraged to see first-hand how XE’s services can contribute to empowering CFOs across a number of the initiatives discussed in this article. By making your international payments process more efficient, you will free up human capital and improve the accuracy of your forecasts, while protecting your bottom line.

When was the last time you assessed your international payments process? Click here to speak with an expert.

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