Being a chief financial officer (CFO) is a lot more complex than it used to be. Not only are CFOs today trying to do more under greater scrutiny, but in many cases they are also trying to do it with fewer resources.

An average day for someone in a CFO role might include budget meetings, financial planning, evaluating business risk, cultivating strategic partnerships, managing talent, and possibly even working on new acquisitions. However, a CFO’s responsibilities don’t stop there.

Increasingly Stringent Regulation

Many companies in today’s environment are operating under ever-growing amounts of regulation. Much of that regulation is focused on financial transparency. Ensuring compliance often falls to the CFO.

The CFO role is also expected to put in place business processes and protocols that can help their company withstand regulatory challenges and negate the need for additional regulation.

Tackling Technology As a CFO

In addition to ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations, ­­CFOs must deal with newly available and increasingly complex amounts of data, all of which needs to be evaluated for potential impact on their companies. Such data creates both opportunities and challenges. It can serve up analytical insight into buyer preferences that can be used for sales, marketing and product development, but the data systems in place often do not reflect business structures or reporting needs.

Then, beyond data, the role of CFO has grown to encompass acquiring technologies that would help the business, both in external functions—with new products and services to offer customers—and internally, in order to increase efficiency.

Looking Forward

These factors, combined with an economy that has yet to fully recover, are defining a new era for CFOs that includes a significant expansion of the “traditional” CFO role. They require a CFO to deliver on a broad agenda, requiring the individual to establish and maintain strong relationships internally and externally if the CFO is to successfully lead strategic initiatives around growth, risk and cost management.