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(An Almost) Perfect Profile of a CEE CFO (2)

As usually, when you start analyzing a topic, other collateral findings start to pop up. More recent articles, written by practitioners, shed a more enlightning picture on the CFOs’ hurdles in East Europe.

First of all, most of these new articles show that CFO’s have been really abated and overwhelmed by the depth of the crisis. With the massive deleverage taking place in 2009-2011, markets are still suffering and CFO’s are still trying to find new sources of profitability. And if there was any reluctance of restructuring the finance departments during the initial years of the crisis, in 2014 the situation changed – restructurings are still taking place, with many companies still having finance (and others) hiring freezes – or even promotion freezes.

This might make the CEE CFO’s more risk averse than ever, with an ever increasing amount of work on their desks.

For example, a new daily task is recurring on East Europe’s finance leaders’ agenda – watching the evolution of the CEE currencies. Even the ever growing CEE banks still have a hiring freeze – both at the headquarter and the local level. With the Euro to local currency (be it zloty, forint or crown) varying wildly in short time intervals, treasury activities have forced the traditionally accounting oriented CFO’s towards to unknown fields of currency and hedging management, so most of them had to learn new skills. And the language of money, of course.

Another trend in the CFO’s jos in CEE is the shaping of a new type of finance business partner, one who can partner with the CEE/business leaders, but also can say no to some of their unrealistic requirements – especially on the investing side. Many CEO’s and general managers used to over-shoot and plan double digits growth for their markets, even on the aftermath of the deleveraging. As such, CFO’s found themselves on the uncomfortable seat of a sparing partner for their CEO’s, which is definitely making their lives more difficult.

All in all, CFO’s jobs were maturing fast in the alst 5 years. Hopefully, their incumbents have evolved (faster) too…

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