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Finance transformation leaders face challenges in CFO career path: ACCA

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Challenges remain for organisations when it comes to ensuring that employees in senior shared service and transformation roles do not face additional barriers in becoming chief financial officer (CFO), going by the latest report by the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) released on Monday.

CHALLENGES remain for organisations when it comes to ensuring that employees in senior shared service and transformation roles do not face additional barriers in becoming chief financial officer (CFO), going by the latest report by the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) released on Monday.

The report, which evaluates whether finance shared service and transformation roles are valuable in the career path to becoming a CFO - the "top finance job" according to ACCA - provides advice for those who may be considering a finance transformation career move, said the global accounting body.

It has identified various factors impacting the value of time spent in a service delivery or transformation role, which include the maturity of the shared service operations; the compatibility of the role with the skills historically viewed as most valuable in the CFO role; the level of sponsorship from business leaders that shared services has in the enterprise; the prevailing corporate culture; and the timing of the move made.

In addition, the report highlighted skills gained such as change management and operational leadership that can be valuable for the top finance job.

Said James Lee, council member and fellow member of the ACCA: "In a rapidly evolving business environment, CFOs today need to be able to bring real strength in areas such as transformational leadership and change, the ability to run finance operations efficiently and understand the value and use of technology."

And senior finance transformation roles do provide opportunities to acquire such skills, Mr Lee said, adding that career moves need to be planned carefully if the ultimate ambition is to be CFO.

Moreover, as shared services models continue to evolve, and with growing interest in global business service initiatives, some see emerging career opportunities outside of the finance function and expect transformation leaders to be able to pursue broader based executive roles.

Said Deborah Kops, co-author of the ACCA report: "The CFO role is not necessarily the end-state for many finance transformation leaders. More and more, success in this role unlocks career paths to COO or business unit leads."