Just this week, I read an article in CGMA magazine by Chris Baysden entitled “Is the CFO swallowing the COO?”. The article discusses a trend in large Fortune 500 companies in which the top finance positions are becoming more and more involved with the other parts of business operations. As the article states, “Ambitious finance execs now need to better understand everything from strategy to supply chains.” The stats from the 2013 Volatility Report support this trend by showing the decline in COO positions over the last several years, with 2013 reporting the lowest rates of COO existence since 2000.
While C-Suite stats and data sets from large corporate studies often reveal facts that don’t perfectly parallel the trends in SME’s, I thought this particular study rang true with most small business entities in which the founders, owners, and managers often wear many hats. There are a lot of moving parts in any business, and when a single person or small team is in charge of them all, it is even more critical to properly plan and coordinate each one. And similar to the trends in finance and operations roles found in larger corporate businesses, there is opportunity for efficiency and performance gains when each of those moving parts is effectively connected via a strong foundation of financial understanding and management.