Good communication is increasingly important for today’s CFO
By Santhie Goundar
One issue thrown up by the recession is that of communication. With management at many businesses having to engage in difficult dialogue with customers, suppliers, shareholders and the general public, good communication – especially under difficult circumstances – has been a top priority.
The increasingly public profile of CFOs often means that the responsibility to communicate, either good or bad news, falls not just on the CEO, but on the finance chief too – especially as someone who understands and is responsible for the financial fate of the company.
“In business, communicating should be done to influence thinking or behaviour,” observes Jack Downton, managing director and founder of The Influence Business, an executive coaching consultancy.
“Increasingly, and especially in hard times, the support of audiences – shareholders, employees, board members, the media and so on – needs to be won and this may not be straightforward. The question is how to make your point. To some, this will come naturally. To most it will not, and they really need to work at it if they want to have the impact they desire.”
It is increasingly important for today’s CFO to learn the art of good communication, says John Foster, a partner at business performance advisers McKinney Rogers. “In today’s difficult environment every member of a company’s executive team needs to add tangible value, and for a CFO or finance director this means, as well as presenting the figures, seeking to offer options for business units or other functions regarding the business,” Foster says.
“To do this in an effective manner, it is essential to actively engage with the target audience in a positive and open manner on what will drive the business.”
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