The Wall Street Journal last week published an article on the expanding role of CFO's and financial people generally in corporations. Well, it's a trend I've been watching for a while, and it isn't going to go away. But it does reflect a significant underlying shift in the way strategy gets made in today's corporations. It used to be the strategy guys would figure things out and toss the playbook figuratively over the transom to the finance people who would work out the best way to line up funds for what companies wanted to do. No more. In today's hypercompetitive markets, your financing structure and your strategic decisionmaking have to be tightly aligned. For one thing, you don't have time to lose. For another, the value of your company, as reflected in its stock price, is going to derive in part from how well you navigate these issues. So what can we expect?
More and more, finance people are likely to be on track to become general managers. And a lot of other functions – from IT to operations – are going to have to start treating those bean-counters with a little more respect.