While bank CFOs have long been responsible for producing the numbers and managing costs, the CFO’s emphasis today is shifting to data, analysis and insight.

Bank CFOs no longer operate within strictly defined borders. They look for new ways to generate value, proposing and shaping business models throughout the enterprise. And, more and more frequently, they are guiding their organizations through the complexities of investing in a digital future.

Accenture conducted a large survey of CFOs and up-and-coming finance professionals and interviewed leaders from top global companies across multiple industries to identify CFOs’ new ambitions, priorities and challenges.

We found that the CFO is being asked to do much more than ever before, including:1

  • Create new revenue streams
  • Manage (and reduce) total costs
  • Share insights across business functions
  • Advise the CEO
  • Improve risk and compliance
  • Increase enterprise value
  • Steward the digitalization of the enterprise

The new pressures on the CFO should not come as a surprise given what the banking industry has been through in the past ten years.  In an environment characterized by macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty, banks have invested billions and have struggled to balance changing compliance requirements with some level of earnings stability. Now, new competitors such as fintechs (financial technology firms) are exploiting emerging technology and new open banking regulations to reshape the traditional business model and lure customers from traditional banks.

Our research and our client experience both indicate that CFOs are helping their organizations become ‘data-centric.’ This may mean working around a legacy architecture that hampers access to big data and makes it more difficult to plug in analytics, perform stress-testing and address regulatory demands for quality and completeness.

We found, for example, that three in four banking CFOs (73 percent) are highly confident in their ability to embrace this more predictive, data-centric mindset. Across all the sectors we surveyed, bank finance teams are also the most likely to be providing proactive analysis of future business scenarios to their peers across the enterprise.2

In the next blog in this series, we will look at how bank CFOs are playing an important new role as leaders of value discovery in their organizations. In the meantime, learn more about our CFO Reimagined survey and download the industry report.


  1. The CFO in Banking, Accenture, November 2018. Access at: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/banking/cfo-research-banking
  2. Ibid

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