CFOs need to be prepared for seismic changes, says Prof Carolina Koornhof


Carolina explains that continuous learning and personal development will help CFOs stay skilled for the future.

In an ever-changing world, finance professionals need to take on new skills and capabilities in order to become business partners of the future. Now more than ever, the finance professional of the future needs critical thinking skills, but also soft skills, the ability to collaborate, but also to make tough decisions. Over the next few weeks, we interview some of South Africa’s leading CFOs to find out how they are incorporating continuous and broad learning and personal development into their lives.

As leaders, CFOs are expected to have the knowledge, expertise and experience to guide their organisations through uncertain and difficult economic times. For this reason, University of Pretoria executive director of finance and student administration Prof Carolina Koornhof explains it is important that CFOs remain on the forefront of new knowledge and developments. “This is the reason why professional bodies like SAICA require that their members comply with CPD requirements,” she says.

To ensure that she complies with these requirements, Carolina plans her CPD for the coming year by first analysing the areas where her role needs further development, then reflecting on the areas required by the CPD policies of professional bodies. “I then plan my diary to incorporate the necessary learning opportunities, and because I work at a university, many of the learning opportunities are available within the institution.”

She explains that the continuous learning and personal development have allowed her to remain on the forefront of new developments, as well as helped her broaden her expertise into new areas that are required as the responsibilities of her job evolves.

“I advise other CFOs to comply with the CPD requirements of their professional bodies, and to visit the websites of universities and educational institutions to remain abreast with new learning and development opportunities,” Carolina says.

She adds that the future of work will be very different to what we know today. “Technology, big data, AI and the Internet of Things will have a substantial impact on how and where we work. CFOs should be skilled and prepared for these seismic changes.”

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