Preshanta Govender reveals what a valuable CFO looks like in a changing world

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Standard Bank of South Africa’s Preshanta Govender reveals why she believes CFOs need to also become value managers in their organisations to navigate increasing challenges.

After Covid-19, Standard Bank had a look at the CFO title and the changing demands from leaders in this position. They realised that the name didn’t quite cover the new requirements of the role, and instead renamed all of the bank’s CFOs to “chief finance and value management officers” (CFVOs).

In an earlier interview with CFO South Africa, Arno Daehnke revealed that: “As CFVO, you need to do three things: ensure the business can manage and thrive in an uncertain environment; retain, attract and empower talent and scarce skills; and manage ESG matters – which are especially important on the African continent.”

Read more: Arno Daehnke unpacks what change-ready finance leadership looks like for a new world

Preshanta Govender, the CFO at Standard Bank of South Africa (SBSA), believes this will be required from all finance leaders as they face increasing challenges around uncertainty, geopolitical and macroeconomic risks, globalisation, climate risk and ESG, recruiting new talent and retaining skilled staff.

“Staying up to date with technology developments and the rise of AI while ensuring it’s cost-effective and fit for purpose is one of the greatest challenges businesses must solve for the future,” she adds.

“For banking specifically, challenges include staying on top of macro trends, adopting digital banking, leveraging data, diversifying revenue streams, increasing competition [especially from fintechs] and increased regulation,” Preshanta explains.

She adds that partnering with and enabling business, providing value insights and improving shareholder value will become crucial skills for CFOs of the future.

“It’s more about resource allocation and creating value. CFOs should enhance their experience in other areas, like IR, FP&A, treasury, capital management and corporate development, for example, to become a better strategic advisor.”

Preshanta says CFOs should also enable the business by using data-driven insights and trends to inform their decision-making.

She adds that CFOs with the right leadership skills to find and grow talent, as well as to enable continuous learning and upskilling, will also be essential.

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