‘Market Volatility Demands More CFO-General Counsel Collaboration’

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
December 15, 2011 /

Although 62 percent of respondents from a recent Deloitte poll believe market volatility has led to increased C-suite collaboration, less than half (41 percent) report that collaboration between their companies’ general counsels (GCs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) is high. Further, GC-CFO collaboration is reported to be occasional (25 percent) or absent (3 percent).

“I think we’re watching the roles of GCs, in particular, shift right now,” said David Williams, chief executive officer, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP.

“CFOs have long been seen as cross-functional players. Now, we’re seeing GCs step out of their legal department or business unit silos and into more strategic roles. CFOs and GCs are beginning to connect much earlier on transactions and other corporate events, but our findings show many companies still have a long way to go.”

Respondents were mixed as to which environments require the most GC-CFO collaboration: 34 percent say all market conditions require high collaboration; 27 percent say weathering a downturn that may include layoffs, managing debts or collections requires the most collaboration; and 25 percent say periods of business growth or expansion, which may include mergers and acquisitions as well as increased hiring, require the most collaboration.

“We all know that considering different perspectives on a business problem almost always leads to a better resolution,” adds Williams. “It’s time—regardless of economic conditions—to build more opportunities for collaboration between CFOs and GCs into organizations’ structures.”

More than 1,300 business professionals from the financial services; technology, media and telecommunications; consumer and industrial products; and, energy and resources industries responded to the polling questions during the webcast, “General Counsels and CFOs: Collaborating for Growth During the Recovery.”

 

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