Despite all the economic and regulatory uncertainties, this is a great moment in time for CFOs. Controls and compliance are stronger than ever in the wake of the accounting scandals of the early 2000’s. And the recent economic turmoil has left staffing levels lean, operating costs honed to maximum efficiency, balance sheets deleveraged, and capital spending plans aligned with economic realities. After

trusting in CFOs to steer the right course through tough times, employers are now looking to you to take a leading role in strategies

to grow and better serve stakeholders in the years ahead.

What Will it Take to Succeed?

To succeed in 2012 and beyond, CFOs will need the same leadership skills that have stood the test of time and served their employers well in the past; plus, the courage to persevere and the willingness to expand into new frontiers.

At CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., we feel three traits are critical: ethics, insights, and balance.

Ethics

CFOs will always need a solid bedrock foundation of ethics. No matter how much the world changes, CFOs will still set the tone at the top for important aspects of financial reporting and business operations. To do this well, CFOs need to know how business operations are reflected in financial reporting, and you also need to understand how financial reporting affects managerial behavior. This is especially important as regulators increase their scrutiny of areas ranging from pay-for-performance plans and funding of multi-employer pension plans to the reporting of breaches of cybersecurity and anti-bribery laws. Your unwavering commitment to high-quality reporting and an appropriate code of conduct helps to ensure the right values are in place for attracting, developing and retaining the talent needed for healthy growth.

Insights

More than ever before, CFOs will need to possess (or have access to) a broad range of knowledge and insights to respond appropriately to the ever-changing volumes of data, rules, and regulations that affect employers and their workers. Accounting standards are changing at an unprecedented pace. Standard setters are considering big changes for both public and non-public entities. Extensive tax reforms are looming on the horizon. Regulators are rethinking the roles of audits and auditors. Key provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act are still unfolding. Commodity prices are volatile, adding to the challenges of product costing and pricing decisions. Major uncertainties complicate the health care laws scheduled to take effect in 2014. And, investments in technology are complicated by cloud computing and a blurring of consumer and business technology.

Balance

CFOs will also need to be masters of achieving the right level of balance when managing the risks and opportunities related to aggressive business plans. With the strengthening economy, CEOs will want to expand into new programs and projects. To evaluate the impacts, CFOs will need to think strategically about how best to manage the risks, arrange the necessary financing, and explain the implications to investors and other users of financial statements. With interest rates near zero and expected to stay there through 2014, CFOs may be called upon to evaluate more business combinations, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. And, CFOs may find more options for raising the capital needed for expansion. Innovative techniques such as “crowd-funding” and an “IPO on-ramp” are being discussed by lawmakers, and the SEC is considering rule changes that would allow companies to make a securities offering without going through the IPO process.

The benchmarks of success vary by organization and industry sector. But a common denominator for all CFOs is the need for flawless judgment when dealing with a diverse mix of stakeholders that may include customers, suppliers, employees, business partners, lenders, venture capital partners, investors, and regulators. It is a tall order. But the rewards will be great for CFOs who have the ethics, insights and balance to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

Together, CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. is the 7th largest accounting provider in the nation. For more information or to learn about our CFO focused accounting forums, contact David Diamond at 858-795-2014 or davidd@cbiz.com.

Submitted by CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.