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School Partners with National Organization to Help CFOs Navigate in Complexity

March 30, 2011
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  DJ Nanda

DJ Nanda, professor of accounting, presented at
the first of several workshops held in Coral Gables.

The School of Business has partnered with the CFO Alliance to establish the national organization’s South Florida chapter and a series of roundtable discussions for senior financial executives. The partnership kicked off in February with a breakfast meeting and presentation entitled “The Changing Role of the CFO,” which was led by Dhananjay “DJ” Nanda, an accounting professor at the School. With South Florida’s role as a hemispheric financial center, it was a crucial location for the organization, said Nick Araco, Jr., president and CEO of the CFO Alliance.

“This CFO community told us to come here,” said Araco, who also heads the Alliance's online platform AchieveNext.com. “They said this economy is important. This finance community is mission critical to economic development and growth around the U.S. It's a gateway. It's an emerging economy.”

Nanda’s presentation to some 60 executives illustrated how the job of the chief financial officer has transformed from accounting office supervisor to strategic advisor — what he called “the chief wizard.” Nanda noted, “You can't have a conference call with analysts without the CFO present. That never used to happen.”

The School believes the partnership will help finance professionals to navigate an increasingly complex world, said Mel Rea Maguire, associate dean for external affairs and chair, executive education. “As many of you know, the role of the CFO has moved beyond finance,” Maguire told the group. ”You are now taking on new responsibilities, which may mean leading new managers and overseeing divisions from IT to human resources. As the region's leading business school we have a role helping these firms adapt to these kinds of transformations. We do that through meetings, like this one, and also through corporate research and executive education programs, which enable you to benefit from our faculty expertise.”

CFO AllianceThe CFO Alliance’s unique format struck a chord with attendees such as Bill Stanners, a partner at Tatum LLC, an executive services firm focused the CFO’s office. “I liked the format of getting people to work on a project at the table,” he said. “It created a dynamic environment.” Interacting with peers this way "helps keep your ideas fresh and helps you adopt the best practices," he added.

The School’s partnership with the CFO Alliance is among a number of new outreach initiatives the School has undertaken recently to strengthen its ties to the business community in South Florida and beyond. Earlier this month the School worked with PNC Bank to host a 2011 economic outlook seminar presented by the bank’s Financial Services Group in Tampa. The seminar provided UM alumni and other members of the community with the opportunity to earn CTP/CCM recertification credits by the Association for Financial Professionals. The School also has a partnership with the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) of Miami through which students gain invaluable mentoring opportunities and YPO members gain access to specialized executive education offerings.

The next roundtable will take place on April 27, 2011, click here for more information.

By Tristram Korten

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