CFOs should look past figures: CEOs

Economy September 26, 2012 00:00

By SUCHEERA PINIJPARAKARN
THE NA

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Chief executive officers expect chief financial officers to take their role as more than accounting and to understand the business' operation model along with scrutinising risk.



A CFO who can think beyond the financial figures could move up to CEO, leading chief executives said at the “KPMG CFO Summit: CEO of the Future”.

Oranuch Apisaksirikul, CEO of Tisco Financial Group, said few chief financial officers moved up to CEO in Thailand even though CFOs have more advantages than other officers in a company, because CFOs do not think beyond figures.

Oranuch, who used to be the CFO of the group, said a finance chief could become a CEO if she or he realises the flow of business and can transform accounting figures into a risk-management tool and give advice to the chief executive about strategic moves.

Before the financial crisis in 1997, Oranuch suggested to the CEO to move to securitisation in preparing for risk and non-performing loans after finding that the group’s financial footing had high risk and might not withstand unexpected developments.

“CFOs must dare to suggest new issues to CEOs and think about how to prevent risk from disrupting business operations,” she said.

Tawatchai Sudtikitpisan, president and CEO of Kiatnakin Bank, said passion for business was essential for a CFO.

A CFO who is the right hand of the CEO should learn about the external market by building relationships with the company’s customers and should know the firm’s whole supply chain, he said.

Chiyot Piyawannarat, president and country manager of ABB Thailand, a global leader in power and automation technologies, said CFOs should change their mindset from a person who sits in the back office to one who is involved with external affairs.

In banking, a CFO has an important role in helping to manage risk because the income of banks comes with risks, so the finance chief is expected to balance risk and profit-making.

Oranuch said the upcoming Asean Economic Community was one of the challenges that CEOs and CFOs were preparing for to understand the opportunities and risks.