Finance departments and CFO’s have had a reputation of answering all requests with no. In fact, many finance departments still have that reputation. We had become CF No’s. It was too easy to respond to any new idea with all of the reasons it could not work. And despite my earlier commentary on August 23, 2014 about “No Being Easy”, that discussion was about making difficult decisions rather than just saying no.
What finance people need to do, and most importantly CFO’s, is solve puzzles. We can’t say no. We have to be on the team and find ways to say yes. We have to think strategically and work collaboratively across the organization.
Finance departments must create value. We have more access to organizational data than anyone else. We can add tremendous value by harnessing the data and creating information.
CEO’s need to trust and rely on CFO’s as more than good accountants. Modern CFO’s are counselors and collaborators with CEO’s. We can and must give unvarnished appraisals of business strategies and models as well as assessments of resources.
As this article in Forbes points out, finance “needs to prove its usefulness as a solutions provider in order to shed another old image of the finance department – its reputation for always saying “no””. In short we need to take a lesson from improv acting by responding to all questions and requests with a “yes and…”