The Commercial Mindset competency covers five key skills: Understand the Business, Develop Market Knowledge, Tell the Financial Story, Drive Growth, Maximise Shareholder Value.

Creative idea or innovation concept

Understand the Business

The challenges faced by organizations today are complex and ever-changing, making it essential for finance leaders to be able to quickly adapt and respond accordingly. To be successful, finance leaders must have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the business, from the front-line operations to the back-office functions. Only then can you make decisions that will help your organization succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

Develop Market Knowledge

Finance leaders play a critical role in your organization by developing market knowledge. This involves building a strong understanding of your customers, suppliers and competitors. To develop this, finance leaders need to know what information is available and where to find it, to help you make better strategic decisions for your company. You must be able to anticipate future changes in the marketplace and understand how your organization stacks up against its competitors.

Tell the Financial Story

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to communicate by capturing hearts and minds. They make financial numbers come alive and are great ways to provide the link between performance data and commercial activities to internal and external stakeholders.

Drive Growth

The role of the CFO is shifting rapidly and you are now expected to contribute significantly towards driving growth across your business. As a key member of your management team, you need to regularly identify growth initiatives and influence your company’s growth strategy. CFOs play a fundamental role in driving growth across your business from creating the building blocks for growth to delivering growth initiatives.

Maximise Shareholder Value

The most successful CFOs add significant value to their business throughout its life cycle. There are numerous opportunities for you to create value across a wide of themes. CFOs should dedicate time to addressing each component of The GrowCFO CREATING VALUE Model to benefit from any easy wins and to deliver the core elements of your business strategy.

Each of these requirements are essential components of your CFO role and must be implemented effectively.

Commercial Mindset Criteria

Assess your competency across the five Commercial Mindset skills with the Ratings Guide below.

Skill1. Basic Level2. Intermediate3. Advanced
Understand the business
Learn all about how the business works, its previous journey, why things are done in a certain way, how decisions are made, internal politics, department activities, what is currently happening, your customer offerings, suppliers, and distributors.
Displays a strong understanding of the company's key products and latest developments. Understands people's roles within each department and why things are done in a certain way. Builds awareness of progress against each strategic objective.Builds close relationships with each team across the business and understands their biggest challenges. Clearly identifies each team's role in delivering the business plan and any barriers that they need to overcome.Generates a thorough understanding of how the business functions, the journey it has been on to date and how things get done. Identifies who is involved in decision-making processes and develops an awareness of company politics.
Develop market knowledge
Build up your knowledge of rival products, competitor activities, market trends, emerging business models, new entrants, market disruptors and their disruptive technologies.
Understands the company's products and/or services and customer value proposition. Researches key competitors and benchmarks their business models and product offerings. Builds knowledge of key suppliers and their respective market segments. Identifies the regulatory trends within relevant sectors.Performs market research to identify market trends and main opportunities or threats. Identifies emerging business models, evolving technologies and new entrants such as disruptive competitors. Scrutinises analyst reports and presents findings to the management team.Quantifies the size of target markets, growth rates, opportunities and threats. Determines biggest market segments and identifies unexploited growth opportunities. Benchmarks company data and pricing strategies against competitors. Understands the impact of any fundraising and M&A activity within their market segment.
Tell the financial story
Utilise your commercial awareness to tell the financial story by linking data trends to commercial activities and demonstrating what is driving the financials.
Demonstrates business acumen when analysing data. Links the company's performance data to the underlying commercial activities that have driven the results.Clearly articulates what commercial activities have driven the financial results. Tells the financial story and brings the numbers to life in a well-presented manner. Showcases their understanding of the business and market knowledge when discussing results.Models the impact of commercial activities and other market trends on financial performance and suggests initiatives to improve outcomes. Understands the key value drivers within the business and how they influence results. Performs scenario planning to support commercial decision-making.
Drive growth
Help to identify new sources of growth such as products, propositions, expansion into new markets and M&A.
Ensures that each department has the necessary resources to implement their strategic objectives. Monitors budgets and accurately forecasts cash flows. Reviews performance data to identify potential growth opportunities.Contributes significantly to the growth agenda by identifying performance improvement initiatives, optimising processes and driving scalability across the business. Reviews the company's target customer segments and determines the priority growth opportunities. Challenges pricing levels to optimise revenues.Performs market analysis to identify new sources of growth and additional revenue streams. Plays a key role in delivering the company's expansion into new markets, for example, by helping to open up new offices and to set up overseas. Reviews workforce requirements, ensures that people are properly incentivised and supports global mobility initiatives.
Maximise shareholder value
Think like an investor to balance short-term earnings versus long-term growth, identify profit and cost drivers, review the customer value proposition, perform value chain analysis and manage the profit and loss account. Respond to market threats, terminate non-profitable activities and dispose of non-core assets.
Manages the income statement effectively and determines the impact of profit and cost drivers. Protects the company's reputation through risk management and compliance.Maximises profit and cash flows across business activities. Allocates significant amounts of time towards value enhancing activities. Integrates acquisitions effectively, disposes of non-core assets and terminates non-profitable activities. Restructures activities where required to ensure ongoing value creation. Develops plans in response to any identified market threats.Reviews the company's activities through the eyes of an investor. Performs value chain analysis and scrutinises the customer value proposition. Supports value enhancing initiatives such as identifying new acquisition targets. Implements value creation plans and measures outcomes. Balances short-term earnings versus long-term growth.

Assess and Develop Your CFO Competencies

Explore the rest of The GrowCFO Competency Framework and take advantage of the following resources to assess and develop your strengths and skills gaps.

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