The roles and responsibilities of the chief financial officer (hereafter CFO) have evolved dramatically over the past 10 years. This article explores this evolution from a South African perspective by, firstly, presenting an extensive literature review on the matter. Secondly, a unique South African model of the key focus areas for CFOs is proposed. Lastly, the results of a questionnaire administered to the CFOs of FTSE/JSE Top 40 companies are reported. The results revealed significant findings relating to the CFO’s most important current and future role ‐ that of planner and strategist. In addition, CFOs at the top of the corporate ladder expect to focus more on their role as a growth and innovation catalyst. This article also identifies three key areas for future research that will make an important contribution to the continued development of the educational framework for chartered accountants.
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