The chief financial officer is often seen as the one who won’t fund a new project that the proponent is certain will help the organization become more productive, more efficient or more profitable. When that money isn’t forthcoming, the CFO frequently is the one who takes the blame.
However, that’s like going after the sheriff for enforcing the law. Like the sheriff, finance is merely applying numbers to the corporate strategy; the “law” he’s enforcing is the company’s budget.
To effectively manage for the short term, any executive who wants his operation to produce demonstrable results quarter-by-quarter must look at the information flow within the corporation, how individual managers are enabled to use that information, the integration of corporate strategy and day-to-day “street truth,” and how all of these factors can be used to improve the organization’s numbers.
All of these processes must also feed into how the corporate strategy is developed and executed. If they are aligned, the budget the CFO has to enforce will be a truer reflection of what the company wants to achieve.