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A Network Approach for the 2022 CFO

Angelique Mohring

Angelique Mohring

CEO at GainX

A strategic network approach for the 2022 CFO with Angelique Mohring, CEO at GainX 

The role of the CFO, and the c-suite more broadly, has expanded exponentially in the last five years. Angelique identified that there is growing “accountability” for CFOs, “taking on responsibility far beyond the financial success” of an organisation. However, Angelique remarked the response from a business intelligence perspective for such developments are “very 2019”.  This article focuses on the importance of adopting a network perspective across organisations and the use of AI to help establish competitive advantages for companies.  

Anthropology and the Age of the Network: 

After opening with an analogy drawing upon her work as an anthropological archaeologist, Angelique highlighted the importance of a networked approach, enabling CFOs to make strategic decisions for the future of their organisation. With the CFO becoming “an architect of an organisation,” it is crucial that CFOs understand organisational structures whilst attempting to address industry-wide issues such as: talent retention; skills gaps and the growing external financial pressures companies face. Consequently, leadership “at the top of the house” need “sophisticated toolsets” to help them make these strategic decisions across the network of an organisation. However, “we’re not seeing this,” stated Angelique.  

The Three-Week Merry-Go Round: 

In these turbulent times, there is an emphasis on internal reporting for executive leadership. This utilised for evaluating company strengths and weaknesses, curating vast quantities of data- too vast to be “effectively processed by people,” highlighted Angelique. This is alluding to the essentialness of integrating Artificial Intelligence across operating models. In turn, this will help interpret the vast quantities of data being collected. The increased workload from growing reporting obligations internally means that employees across the network of an organisation have less time. As a result, individuals are unable to consider how to do their jobs strategically. This traps companies in “the reactive cycle”, which Angelique summarised as a three-week cycle. This is where employees are reacting to their workloads but put off the time to develop strategic approaches to their work. 

Horizontal Vertical Deep Thinking: 

Angelique’s “completely made-up phrase,” horizontal vertical deep thinking, relates to the network approach discussed earlier. In action, it entails challenging vendors to find new ways of collaborating and utilising datasets. This also applies across the networks of organisations, helping identify strategic advantages from collating data across verticals. Angelique identified that horizontal vertical deep thinking is crucial for developing strategic advantages. Her parting advice was to “be selfish,” utilise horizontal vertical deep thinking in your own role to identify the best ways to manage strategically from the position of the CFO. 

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