Much has already been written about the future of the finance function. Experts from its every corner talk about becoming more strategic business partners, moving from the role of advisor to business activist, and espousing the benefits of various sourcing models and staffing techniques that make this shift possible. While all this is true, these are only reflections of fundamental shifts in the role and demands of the overall finance function.

Traditionally, finance has played three core roles: custodian (of assets and regulatory compliance); commentator (of business and financial performance); and counselor (for business strategy and the operating model). These roles have not and will not change, but their requirements and what defines and contributes to success have undergone fundamental changes.