The Finance of Balancing Leadership


The dawn of the digital age has given rise to an important skillset requirement, which effectively provides CFO’s with the ability to master the art of financial leadership. This skillset can only be learnt from gaining industry experience, interaction with industry associations and networking with others that share the same vision. Further it is up to educational institutes, organisations and mentors to identify and aid the #CFO transition to becoming an effective financial leader.


At the recently held #CFO South Africa roundtable (, participants agreed that in order to succeed in the field of finance an awareness of leadership skills required, is vital. Further a keen understanding of the industry and an acknowledgment that the industry is shifting will assist in mastering the art of financial leadership. The participants further believe that the CFO’s focus is shifting from traditional bean counting practises to business success through leadership strategies.


 “The art of balancing financial leadership comes to play when CFO’s have to maintain industry compliancy levels, whilst pushing the bar on financial targets and corporate bottom-line.” – Karen Smal, ACCA South Africa


Strategy, strategy, strategy


#ACCA recently released a research paper titled Financial Leadership with the single point of main importance as the ability to incorporate your financial strategy into a workable implementation plan. The art of financial leadership is to gain vision, and to anticipate the human factor in every instance within your financial strategy. The skill to lead others and to take leadership to task will draw a clear path to financial and social success. The research paper further reveals that there are distinctive steps that would need to be taken in order to achieve the balancing of financial leadership. These steps along and the balance of the research paper, can be viewed online at the ACCA South African web page;


Halla Tomasdottir, ( a financial leader in Iceland, who was instrumental in re-building Iceland’s economy since the collapse in 2008, has attributed the following key markers  to attaining and retaining financial balance, they are; Risk Awareness, Straight Talking, Emotional Capital and Profit with Principals. These same markers were discussed at the round table, a point to the concept of globalisation, not only in industry but in financial leadership. South Africans tend to act in isolation, however the point raised at the round table can easily be adapted and integrated into any global strategy. Many of the CFO’s attending the round table have mandates beyond the borders. The concept of a #globalCFO is becoming a reality as many CFO’s share a single vision; gaining business success through balanced financial leadership.



There is an abundance of #financialtechnology globally that can assist CFO’s in the South African market. If the consensus amongst industry leaders is that the focus is shifting towards leadership opposed to traditional bean counting, then adapting global technology will become ever important. CFO’s would need to develop a strong technological support base alongside an implementation plan which will then allow for the #CFO to focus on balancing financial leadership.


ACCA South Africa