Four key themes emerged from the 2016 survey results (check them out for yourself here: http://bit.ly/2wtBY68):
Most discussed was the role of the CFO. Elevating Federal Finance to the C suite has no doubt had a positive effect. However, in the decades since the passing of the CFO Act of 1990, agencies interpretations (and subsequent implementation) of the CFO’s role have varied markedly. Strategic planning, budget, risk management, financial management…what’s most important? And at the core of the debate—should the CFO manage process or drive strategy?
Both have their pros and cons, of course. For those focused on process, overseeing accounting—both budgetary and financial—is first and foremost. Those with a strategic vision for Finance see the ability to influence the overall direction of an agency.
As the discussion unfolded, it became clear just how closely the other three themes—financial systems and tools, communication and alignment and reporting requirements—intertwined with the role of the CFO. How one views the role impacts the approach to gaining alignment across the organization, system and tool usage and adoption and treatment of reporting requirements. The common thread? Analytics.
CFOs increasingly see data science as a means of accomplishing their mission. During one of the panel discussions at AGA, Tom Carroll, CFO of the Architect of the Capitol, said “Data, and the use of data, is here to stay, and it’s growing.” He went on to explain how CFOs who, “know how to take current events and translate them into today’s opportunities,” make effective leaders.
Today’s Federal CFOs can make a big impact in government. For example, billions can be saved by uncovering fraud, waste and abuse, and reducing improper payments. And many of today’s regulatory requirements offer CFOs a chance to steer the agency (and government overall). Take the DATA Act—the data elements you are required to submit offer a gold mine for analysis (check out our latest app: http://bit.ly/2r51fkk).
So, what is the role of the CFO? Join the conversation by completing the annual AGA CFO Survey: http://bit.ly/2wtBY68.