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Critical for CFOs to possess strategic thinking skills

BEING able to think and act strategically is the most important skill chief financial officers (CFOs) will need to possess now and in the near future, as they evolve from their traditional role of being book-keepers to becoming forward-looking advisers to chief executive officers (CEOs).

That's what 88 CFOs, across a wide range of industries and organisations, told EY and CPA Australia in April and May this year. EY and CPA Australia's joint report, "Ready for the future economy? The CFO's perspective", was released at the CFO Connect Symposium held in Singapore on Friday.

CFOs surveyed said they recognise the need to go beyond the numbers, to help manage the risks facing their organisations - ranging from slowing growth in Singapore's key export markets, to changes in business models, to cyber threats - while seeking new opportunities in this increasingly complex environment.

CFOs said strategy roles, such as strategic business planning and risk management, would become more important tasks for them in the next five years, while more traditional financial steward roles such as financial reporting and cash-flow management will take up less of their time.