TO OVERSEE INNOVATION, COMPANIES ARE COUNTING ON THE FINANCE FUNCTION

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Successful CFOs have, by necessity, acquired an inside-out understanding of the innovation process. They’ve had to reinvent themselves in recent years, emerging in reshaped roles that cast them as strategic decision-makers, rather than keepers of the quarterly reports.

A host of organizational shifts, ranging from the elimination of the COO title to the existence of advanced analytics tools to a erce competitive landscape, has required finance leaders to take on some of the responsibility for helping the business achieve its strategic objectives. As they’ve developed the skills to serve as effective advisors and collaborators with the CEO and other senior executives, they’ve gained an in-depth knowledge of the company’s inner workings, from operations to developing—and bringing to market—new offerings. Finance executives understand the stakes of the transformation that their companies need to make, retooling their structures and processes in hopes of nurturing cutting-edge ideas that are also profitable.