Content thumbnail Partnering for Performance Part 5

The CFO and CEO: key allies in value creation This will be critical if CFOs are to maintain their role as key ally to the CEO. There are warning signs that CFOs are not always at the table during key American Express: balancing control with growth discussions or asked for their input into strategic decisions. According to opportunities respondents, the top two barriers preventing a closer relationship with the At American Express, Global Network & International Consumer CEO were organizational boundaries and lack of demand from CEO for insight Services, Senior Vice President and CFO Christophe Le Caillec believes from finance into strategic issues (see Chart 3). it is critical to distinguish between the two disciplines of control and Chart 3: What do you consider to be the main barriers preventing a closer targeting future opportunities. relationship with the CEO? (Select up to three) “What has worked well at American Express is distinguishing between Organizational boundaries 39 two areas,” he says. “First, you have what we call ‘controllership,’ which is about producing the financials with the highest possible level Lack of demand from CEO for insight 33 of integrity. The second is a separate group of people who are thinking from finance into strategic issues about business decisions — how to target the best opportunities and Lack of effective data analytics to 32 questioning whether what we’re doing now is still the right thing to do provide business insight for the future.” Lack of finance resources to 30 dedicate to strategic issues Geographical boundaries 29 The onus for the CFO becoming a value creation-focused business partner to the CEO falls upon them both. The CFO needs to develop the right strategic Lack of appropriate tools 28 skills and mindset, and build a finance function with the right balance of and processes skills to enable him or her the breathing space to step away from the detail. I do not perceive any barriers 12 Meanwhile, the CEO can help break down the organizational boundaries that % our survey suggests CFOs still perceive, and rethink the contribution they ask 0 10 20 30 40 50 of their CFOs. Partnering for performance Part 5: the CFO and the chief executive officer 7

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