Chief Financial Officers

Although a company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may already have a lot of responsibilities, the CFO for the Scholastic Corporation, believes that they should perhaps have more. Maureen O\’Connell updates are that the CFO of a company should be concerned, not only with the past and present financial standings of the company but should also be playing a major role in the forward planning for the company’s future. She makes her case for this added responsibility by pointing out that a CFO, as well as knowing all a company’s financial history, also knows that history department by department and yet has no loyalties to any. This suggests that if a department head were to be asked advice on the way forward for a company, their response would nearly always have a biased towards their own particular department and that may not therefore reflect the best way forward for the company as a whole. This is perhaps a valid point and so may be a CFO should be considered as the one to plan a company’s future but, sometimes the CFO may lack experience enough to make sound judgements. In the case of Maureen O’Connell and Scholastic, it may be a wise decision to leave the responsibility with the CFO but that is perhaps more due to O’Connell’s experience than it is to just her academic qualification. Although adequately qualified to be a CFO of a company having received a B.S. in Accounting and Economics at New York University, making correct predictions for a company’s future probably is due to the experience O’Connell received since attending that university. Apart from working for Scholastic and from 2000 to 2002 for Barnes & Noble, another publishing company, as their CFO, O’Connell has also held a number of other offices for other companies and that experience includes as Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Administration Officer (CAO) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and even at one time President of a company. It is that experience that probably places her in a good position to make a company’s forecasts for the future, rather than her academic achievements. So, although her thinking is sound, a company should perhaps consider the experience that their CFO has before placing the responsibility of the company’s future, on their shoulders.

It would seem though that O’Connell is doing well in her efforts as Scholastic remains one of the leading publishers in the United States and would appear as if it will remain one for some time to come yet. There is however one area in which O’Connell admits that she is not so certain about and that is cyber security. In this modern age of technology, cyber security must be a big concern for any company, especially when looking to the future. It is for this reason that O’Connell now recommends that CFOs work closely with the Chief Information Officer of a company in order to keep abreast of any added measures that need to be taken in respect of cyber security.