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44 The Latest CFO Trends with Steve Gallucci, Global & US CFO Program Leader at Deloitte

Steve Gallucci, Global & US National Managing Partner for the CFO Program at Deloitte, has his fingers on the pulse of pressing issues for CFOs. He shares key insights from the 4Q21 CFO Signals survey, his insights on transition planning for CFOs, and what it takes to be a top finance leader today.


Episode 44: Deloitte | With Steve Gallucci, Global & US CFO Program Leader

As the Global & US leader for Deloitte’s CFO Program, Steve Gallucci’s job is to understand all the pressing issues facing CFOs today. He brings over 30 years of experience at Deloitte in an advisory and assurance capacity to the role.

Deloitte’s CFO Program delivers forward thinking insights for every stage of a CFO’s career through data-driven research and cutting edge resources. It was developed to offer CFOs and aspiring CFOs a comprehensive “go-to” resource for personal career success as the CFO role continues to evolve to meet the needs of the modern company.

Here on The CFO Playbook, we’re dedicated to understanding the needs of and demands on the modern CFO. Steve walks us through the 4Q CFO Signals Survey, which includes the latest insights from 124 CFO respondents. On the whole, they’re predicting tempered expectations for growth, emphasizing the need to prioritize talent/labor, and citing opportunities for embedding technologies and automation into their organizations’ operations. 

On this episode of The CFO Playbook, Steve Gallucci, Global & US CFO Program Leader at Deloitte, shares his view on how to build a successful transition plan as a new CFO, explains how talent is top of the agenda for many CFOs today, and emphasizes why being both a strategist and a catalyst is critical for any successful finance leader.

Guest Analysis

Name: Steve Gallucci

What he does: Steve is the Global & US National Managing Partner of the CFO Program at Deloitte, which harnesses the broad capabilities of the firm to deliver forward-thinking insights for every stage of a CFO’s career. With 30 years of experience at Deloitte, Steve helps CFOs manage the complexities of their roles, tackle compelling challenges, and adapt to strategic shifts in the market.

Key Quote:  “What we hear time and again from the CFO community is there is an insatiable desire for CFOs to talk to other CFOs.”

Where to find Steve: LinkedIn & Twitter

From Steve’s Playbook

CFOs are looking for community

One goal of the Deloitte CFO Program is to connect and convene CFOs. Steve shares that like any C-Suite role, being a CFO can be a lonely job but CFOs benefit greatly from learning from their peers and have an “insatiable desire” to network. Whether through the CFO Program, LinkedIn, or in industry events, it’s worth reaching out to fellow CFOs and finance leaders in your sector.

The pandemic has expedited trends that already existed

Whether Steve is commenting on the future of work or the opportunities that exist through automation, he emphasizes that the pandemic has brought into focus company needs that already existed. In certain ways, the last two years have served as a crystal ball for the future of modern work, today. It’s allowed CFOs to get crystal clear on their priorities in order to keep up with demand going forward.

When it comes to leadership, empathy is key

Steve echoes what we’ve heard from many CFOs here on The CFO Playbook: a modern CFO needs to be an empathetic leader. Part of this is developing a core understanding of all aspects of the finance department as well as the overall business so that a CFO can better put themselves in the shoes of the employees.

CEOs want their CFOs to be a strategist and a catalyst

The CFO Program identifies 4 faces of the CFO as strategist, catalyst, operator, and steward. Steve explains that historically the CFO was mainly seen as an operator and steward, taking control of the financial operations of the company. While today’s CEOs expect CFOs to have strong financial skills, they place a lot of value on the CFO as a business strategist and catalyst for momentum.

Episode Highlights

Top of mind for the CFO Agenda

“There continues to be a lot of opportunity, but a lot of challenges. So managing data and understanding that a company's data strategy is something that's really, really important from that perspective.  I think those are the key areas that we see as being top of mind for the CFO agenda.”

What CFOs expect from their finance teams

“An underlying attribute that [CFOs] want out of their finance teams is agility. They need people to be able to understand multiple aspects of a finance domain, not just one particular siloed area.”

About the the CFO Program Transition Lab

“What we do in that transition lab is we explore three facets of how a CFO spends their time, how they manage their team, and what key relationships do they build across the enterprise to be successful both inside and out... And then the output of that is a very, very detailed transition plan that they will walk away with.”

Increased investment in technology

“There is a constant demand on the part of business unit leaders to have information that is faster to them and is available to them on a real-time basis. So you're finding a lot of finance organizations that are making significant investments in technology, particularly thinking about how they take the data that they have and make it more usable to business leadership.”

The effect of 2020/2021 on forecasting

“Taking internal trends and extrapolating them out over time got upended and I think it was a quote attributed to Mike Tyson, who had said that, ‘everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face.’ Well, in March and April of 2020, we all got punched in the face, particularly CFOs.”

Top quotes:

“We have a framework that we call the four faces of the CFO. Which includes being a strategist, a catalyst, an operator, and a steward. And you think about the operator role, that's the historical view of what a CFO has to deliver on. The strategist/catalysts are the areas that really drive business performance. Not coincidentally, what we're seeing, in terms of when companies are seeking to replace their CFO or move to a new CFO, the traditional background of those taking CFO roles were those that would be more of the operator steward. What we're seeing now is much more background around, say investment banking, business unit leadership, because CEOs don't want their CFO just to be the operator/steward. They want their CFO to be the strategist and catalyst.”

“[It’s important for a CFO] to be that empathetic leader and understand some of the challenges that they have as an organization…What challenges do their workforce have, how do they create career growth in career trajectory growth, to be able to give people the opportunities to continue to grow from that perspective.”

“What we hear time and again, and I suspect you hear from the folks that you interface with and the CFO community, is there is an insatiable desire for CFOs to talk to other CFOs. It's been said that the role of CFO, like any C-suite role, can be a very lonely role. So CFOs are always interested in understanding what their peer groups are thinking about.”

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