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CFOs: It’s all about the money (again)

3 Sep 2021

Senior Associate Kieran Mouser, from the Finance & Commercial Practice, addresses the shifting expectations Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are experiencing as a consequence of the pandemic – in Compass Executives’ latest insight article.

Over the past 18 months of COVID-19 and amid all of the uncertainty surrounding the economy (present and future), politics, business and society, the CFO role has been thrust to the forefront in many organisations as they seek to combat the effects of the pandemic on their organisations.

The CFO has a central role, alongside other senior management figures, in bringing stability to the business and ensuring that it is well positioned to thrive when market conditions improve. After all, the CFO is the individual who directly impacts and contributes to an organisations financial security, health and resilience on a day-to-day basis.

Cash flow, liquidity and Layman’s terms

Typically, Private Equity Investors want CFOs who are both strategic and operational; who are able to support all aspects of the business whilst being technically competent; and have the ability to implement systems and processes to allow the business to grow / hit strategic goals. During the peak of COVID-19 in 2020, CFO priorities shifted dramatically. They became the go-to person for investors and / or external funders for information on cash flow and liquidity, divesting non-core business units, re-forecasting and re-drafting budgets, cost reduction and securing additional financial support from the government.

Additionally, Investors wanted accurate and timely information reported in concise and clear language. This was so they could fully understand what financial position their portfolio businesses were in.


Transformation of Finance has been thrust to the forefront of many organisations minds and the CFO is now expected to create a ‘Finance Function of the Future’. This is to enable Finance functions to quickly and efficiently respond to complex and changing situations, increased stakeholder demands and growth targets.

The fixation and scrutiny on finance functions and CFOs remain, but has shifted subtly to a point where CFOs will be expected to create, assess, drive forward and implement business strategy alongside the CEO and COO.

Going forward the need for CFO’s to engage with stakeholders internally and externally will only increase. CFO’s will need to bring the organisations journey to life and engage audiences that are predominantly not from a financial background in a credible and emotionally intelligent manner.

Commercial and M&A focus remains

Appetite for M&A has been steadily growing again over the summer, and the Finance & Commercial Practice have been inundated with enquiries and mandates for commercially savvy, M&A experts who have the track record and demonstrable experience within the healthcare space to meet current investment and provider demand. The industry has shown its resilience throughout the pandemic, with Infrastructure Funds and REITs taking a renewed interest where previously there had been a focus on other sectors. The capital funds they have to deploy are stacking up, and as a result the demand for this profile has rocketed.

The questions that remains is whether the CFO role will change to what it was pre-pandemic or become a hybrid of the two?

To find out more, or to enquire about the Finance & Commercial Practice expertise, please contact Kieran Mouser on [email protected].  

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