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Finance Director Europe Summer 2021

Editorial Acting editor Andrea Valentino Sub-editor Nikki Peach Production manager Dave Stanford Group art director Henrik Williams Head of content Jake Sharp

Commercial Client services executive Derek Deschamps Publication manager Sanjeev Dole Managing director William Crocker

Finance Director Europe is published by Progressive Media International, which is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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f you’ve followed business leaders over the last decade, you’ll know that their job descriptions have gradually been shifting. If CFOs have traditionally have been pure moneymen – concerned primarily with keeping accounts in the black and shareholders from going red – that’s gradually changed. Now they’re increasingly expected to offer support across their business – formulating strategy, optimising growth, managing investors. As with everything else, the pandemic has sped up these transformations. According to one recent report, commissioned jointly by ACCA Global and the Institute of Management Accountants, 82% of company CEOs now think that the role of CFO will increase in importance once Covid-19 has faded into memory. More to the point, 67% of CEOs value their chief financial officers primarily for their strategic insights – even as CFOs still view themselves mainly as accountants with corner offices. Yet as revolutionary as all this clearly is, what does it actually mean for CFOs in the field, battling to steady their firms in rough economic waters? And how do finance directors balance their own shifting positions with a cavalcade of other challenges – from new environmental obligations to the ever-present dangers around cybersecurity? With the pandemic heralding a 300% increase in malicious hacks, and global temperatures continuing to rise unabated, neither of these problems are to be sniffed at. This edition of Finance Director Europe, in other words, seeks to understand what CFOs’ new standing actually means – as well as some of the pressures they’re likely to face over the coming years. As our profile of Dr Nicolas Peter, CFO at BMW, explores, he and his fellow executives are likely to have a lot on their plates, from pushing through sustainable practices to exploiting new technologies. From there, we delve into the murky world of AI hiring, the even murkier world of cybercrime, and take time to explore the grim state of foreign direct investment. It’s clear, at any rate, that CFOs, whatever their role, are as vital to a company’s health as ever – and that their inboxes seem unlikely to empty anytime soon.

I Andrea Valentino, editor

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