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Changing Roles of Financial Management


These are challenging times for corporate financial executives. They are expected to accomplish more with fewer resources. They are expected to provide more sophisticated financial services to their corporations’ business units. But they are also required to reduce their personnel through the increased use of computer technology. The intensity of global competition and the constant change in government regulations have also had their impact. Financial executives are being asked to become more involved in business operations, while maintaining the integrity of the corporate financial system. In addition, financial executives are often criticized for managing-by-the-numbers. It is said that the financial perspective places too much emphasis on paper profits instead of on people and production, to the detriment of long-term, value-adding activities. Most business people would agree that this is an accurate assessment of the responsibilities of today’s financial executive. But many of them would also be surprised to learn that these paragraphs were taken from a book first published in 1990, Changing Roles of Financial Management: Getting Close to the Business. Through a discussion of practices at leading companies this publication revisits a discussion on how financial executives can become better leaders and better balance the role of business advocate with that of corporate policeman

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