Being a top finance boss is more complex than it has ever been before and requires thinking laterally and embracing uncertainty, says the dean of the University of Auckland's business school.

Professor Jayne Godfrey's comments come just weeks ahead of Deloitte's annual top 200 awards which will name New Zealand's top chief financial officer for 2019.

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Infratil CFO Phillippa Harford, SkyCity Entertainment Group's Rob Hamilton and Restaurant Brand's Grant Ellis have been named as finalists in the category.


Godfrey says as the world of work is rapidly changing so is the role of the CFO - often seen as the right-hand man or woman of the chief executive.

"The role of a CFO today is more complex than ever before. It requires much more than knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards!"

Godfrey says the increasing amount of risk and the rapid advance of technology means that the traditional linear career path of the CFO is no longer.

"Aspiring CFOs need to think laterally, embrace uncertainty and define a more forward-looking and mobile career path that builds capability in areas beyond finance, such as business partnering, strategy and transformation, complex decision making and customer centricity."

She says the cross-functional nature of the role now sees many CFOs driving transformation and playing a more proactive role in influencing, and leading change across the organisation.

"CFOs act as catalysts instilling a financial approach and mind-set to not only equip their function with the right tools but also collaborate across the business to drive success."

To aid CFOs in meeting these growing demands the university's business school has a strategic CFO programme.

"The programme helps equip mid-career finance professionals to develop the strategic, whole of business mind-set that is the platform for success in the CFO role.

"It is designed to be practical and relevant and prepare finance leaders with the skills to lead across the organisation, drive performance and become enterprise leaders."


Deloitte Top 200 Awards were established in 1990 and are held annually to recognise and applaud outstanding individual and management team performances among New Zealand's largest companies and trading organisations.

From the Top 200 index, significant contenders are identified for a series of awards.

Last year's winner for the CFO award was ASB's Jon Raby.

The Deloitte Top 200 winners will be revealed at a gala event being held at Auckland's Spark Arena on December 5.

Tickets can be bought here.

The evening will also include two special awards – "Visionary Leader" and "Executive of the Decade" announced on the night. Click here for a full list of finalists.


Chief Financial Officer of the Year - Sponsored by the University of Auckland Business School

• Infratil's Phillippa Harford
• SkyCity Entertainment Group's Rob Hamilton
• Restaurant Brand's Grant Ellis