Posted on April 30, 2014

Close to 100 CFOs and senior finance professionals gathered for the first ICAEW Finance Leaders evening, held on April 28 at W Hotel, Doha, Qatar, to discuss the changing role of today’s CFO. Speakers at the event agreed that the CFO’s role in Qatar is beginning to evolve, moving towards becoming a more strategic position which encompasses advising and counselling the chief executive. They also noted that advancements in corporate reporting and technology are elevating the importance of the CFO as a key business strategist rather than steward.

Panellists at the event included: Roger Hickman, Executive Director Finance of Tasweeq (Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Company); Steve Walters, CFO of Vodafone Qatar; Balazs Torbagyi, Regional CFO in East, Central Europe and Middle East Africa for Oracle; Cecille El Beledei, Deputy Head of Mission, UKTI, British Embassy Qatar; John Marshall, Finance Manager at Qatar Petroleum; and Tim Foster, CFO at Qatari Diar.

Aarti Mohan, Enterprise Performance Management Leader for Oracle Eastern Central Europe and Middle East, presented a keynote address in which she explored how modern CFOs and finance executives are adopting emerging technologies within their finance functions to develop new capabilities and transform the role of finance.

CFO role in Qatar becoming 2 [].jpgThe debate was moderated by Ewald Muller, Director of financial analysis at the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority. Panellists agreed that the consolidation, automation and simplification of financial processes in recent years have resulted in finance professionals being able to fulfil a more proactive role in the overall management and operation of business.

Commenting on the event, Vernon Soare, Executive Director, ICAEW, said: “Today’s CFOs are expected to play a key role in strategy development and implementation, working closely with their CEOs and the board of directors to creatively develop growth opportunities for the future. However, CFOs must first acquire the necessary skills in order to reach this potential.

“While qualifications like the ACA go a long way in preparing finance professionals to become tomorrow’s leaders, it is through events like the Finance Leaders Forum that ICAEW can help finance professionals to better understand the evolution of the CFO function and fill any skill gaps.”

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