Senior financial executives are playing increasingly influential roles in strategy and operation, working closely with CEOs and management boards to creatively assess and design growth opportunities.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Truc, chief financial officer in HSBC Vietnam, made the statement at the 5th Vietnam CFO Forum 2013 held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 20.

Titled "Resilience Strategies in Hard Times", the forum was organised by the Vietnam CFO Club, Japan Association for CFOs and ACCA Vietnam.

It attracted more than 250 delegates including representatives from the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes, the Vietnam Association of Corporate Directors (VACD), members of Vietnam CFO Club, the Japan Association for CFOs, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and CEOs and CFOs of big corporations.

Truc pointed out that the new core competencies for CFOs are collaboration, business partnering and talent management.

She said that to cope with changes driven by the global economic situation, a paradigm shift in corporate management was needed, especially in financial issues.

For instance, working in silos should be changed to partnering with other corporate functions, she said.

Apart form traditional roles such as measuring and monitoring business performance, meeting local regulatory requirement, improving business, driving cost reduction, CFOs need to be more strategic in thinking, understand competitive advantage, customers and products.

More compelling and meaningful analysis, better ways of communicating to non-finance colleagues should be also included. Moreover, CFOs need to forward looking risk management.

Agreeing with Truc, Han Manh Tien, chairman of VACD, said Vietnamese businesses are currently not equipped to assess or predict evolving situations in business and investment environment.

Hence the role of CFOs in a difficult period becomes more important. They should work with business owners and partners to solve all obstacles and drive the company ahead towards sustainable development, he said.

Le Anh Tuan, head of the research department at Dragon Capital Co, said the world and domestic economy has overcome the most unstable and vulnerable period and will be stronger in the coming year.

The recovery of some leading economies such as Europe, the US, China and Japan is leading the recovery, he added.

While cautious and defensive policies were called for during the past few years, it may be time for businesses to think about growth and expansion strategies now, he said.

Tuan said next year will see a better growth than this year. Total investment is expected to reach 31-32 percent of GDP in 2014-15. To reach 31-32 percent, capital for investment has to increase 9-11 billion USD higher than that in this year.

For next year, currency is certainly one of the causes of inflation, however, other specific factors also have strong impact on inflation such as oil and food prices.-VNA