Mid-market CFOs break the ‘bean counter’ mould

The traditional view of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) as policy driven number crunchers couldn’t be more inaccurate for those working in mid-market companies, according to new research from accounting and advisory firm William Buck.

Instead, these CFOs are ‘hands-on’ all-rounders with strong communication skills and responsibilities in human resources, compliance and quality assurance.

The findings were drawn from William Buck’s quarterly CFO Pulse survey, which gathers the views of more than 100 CFOs in mid-market companies.

Head of William Buck’s Corporate Advisory Focus Group, Manda Trautwein, said the results highlighted a major divide between the roles of CFOs at the big and middle ends of town.

“Contrary to popular belief, CFOs in mid-market companies are very people focused and list HR, communication and diplomacy as key skills for their position,” she said.

“It’s probably not surprising that CFOs of these companies see their role as very different to those in large organisations, where they are better resourced and able to focus more on strategy and forecasting.

“Mid-market CFOs are more deeply involved in a wide range of business areas, often taking on responsibilities outside of a typical CFO role – even areas as diverse as legal or quality assurance.”

Manda said mid-market CFOs felt they could add significant value to the business in areas including strategic planning and business development, but in many cases, the need to take on an all-round role has been a barrier for them.

“Strategy is the only area where, as a whole, the CFOs surveyed would like to spend more time,” Manda said. “It’s unclear, however, where these extra hours will come from as the majority of their time is spent on management reporting, budgeting and planning and non-financial activities including human resources, information technology and operational issues.

“These CFOs saw their greatest challenge as being able to provide meaningful forecasts and budgets, which could be related to a lack of timely information being available or being time-poor so unable to conduct the appropriate analysis.”


Bryony Vandepeear

Marketing Manager

William Buck

Ph: (02) 8263 4000


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