Why the CFO designation Stands Out
CFOs are incredibly powerful. The World Bank estimates that global GDP sits at around $85 trillion. A significant part of that comes from large corporations and state-owned entities. At the head of the financial affairs of these companies sits a single person in the form of a CFO.
This alone is an illustration of the critical role the CFO plays in the global economy and society. However, for a long time in South Africa and globally, there has not been an underlying metric or designation that employers and investors can use to judge the competency of CFOs.
Vetting CFOs is tricky. While different companies may have their own processes, there is no universal method. One issue is that no qualification directly relates to a person becoming or qualifying as a CFO. Instead, it is the result of an extensive life journey.
This life journey in the form of workplace experience is perhaps more critical in shaping a CFO than academic qualifications. Yet other designations in South Africa don’t adequately acknowledge its crucial role. The CFO(SA) designation however gives workplace experience its due recognition. We extensively vet whether our applicants for the designation have met 34 key competencies.
These competencies aren’t arbitrary. Instead, they are based on academic research. One paper in particular, which studied what skills are needed to transition from the familiar path of a CA to a CFO. It’s important to note that the CFO(SA) destination is open to those who don’t come from the CA steam.
These competencies that form part of the CFO(SA) designation also serve as a useful roadmap. Particularly for aspirant young professionals who may lack direction once they’ve completed their initial academic studies and passed their board exams. They may be left asking, ‘what’s next, how do I make it to the top?’ This designation and its competencies intend to provide that direction.
The designation is increasingly not just an acknowledgment of work experience or a pathway to success but also renders access to international networks such as the CFO Alliance. In an increasingly global and connected world, access to those with knowledge of different business locations and environments is vital.
It may not be fair to even compare the CFO(SA) designation to other options because, in truth, it stands alone. It serves an elite professional group, emphasises workplace experience, and gives access to high-level networks.