Growth Potential: Phyllis Streit Says Role Of CFO Is Constantly Evolving

Jan 10, 2013
  |  by Strayer Univers...

In today’s complex economy, many employees are adding new responsibilities to their normal duties,especially at small businesses. Phyllis Streit (BSAC ’09, MBA student), managing director and chief financial officer for investment advisory firm Cumberland Advisors, says her job is constantly evolving.


In the past, I mainly focused on financial reporting and budgeting,” Streit says, “but now I have a hand in many areas throughout the company.” She oversees financial forecasting, employee benefits packages, employment agreements and lease agreements, and helps set the company’s overall strategy and corporate goals. Streit says the changes to her position are becoming more common for CFOs, especially in three areas: 
  1. A growing number of chief executive officers at small businesses are relying on the insight and expertise of CFOs when setting the company’s strategic direction. “It’s becoming more important for the CFO to work alongside the CEO,” says Streit. “I help our CEO identify areas in the business that I think are most likely to grow based on my financial forecasts.” 

    Streit also looks at other areas in the company that could affect the bottom line. For example, she worked with her company’s CEO to develop a benefits and compensation package that makes sense not only for employees, but also for the organization. 


  2. Today’s technological advancements give CFOs more controls over the company’s financial data, helping them identify high-risk areas. New software can better enable CFOs to establish budgets, adjust the company’s financial strategy and identify specific areas within the company that need to be strengthened.

    Prior to investing in new financial software, Streit stresses the importance of understanding what programs will work the best for the organization. “There are countless accounting software programs available, but not all of them will make sense for the company,” she says.


  3. Streit was recently asked to negotiate the building leases for her company because of her deep knowledge of the company’s financials. She worked closely with the company’s attorneys to learn more about contract law.

    “When you’re negotiating a lease, you have to understand every part of the agreement, such as the cost and potential consequences of breaking the lease,” Streit says. “Although it’s been a challenge, it’s exciting to learn about the different areas within the company and how I can contribute.”




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