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Ernst & Young: Charity begins in the boardroom

By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com

UK Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) are increasingly looking to secure boardroom roles that make a difference to society, an Ernst & Young report has found.

The report, CFO and Beyond,  found that 38% of UK CFOs are looking to become board members or trustees of a charity or cultural institution in addition to their current role. This was ranked as the most popular non-executive role, ahead of non-executive directorship of other companies in the same sector, policy advising to government or chairmanship. The report found UK CFOs more interested in taking on such roles than global counterparts, while 15% already hold a position in the sector. Post their current CFO role, 46% wanted to take up such positions.

The report shows 74% of UK CFOs want the opportunity to take up new board positions. The vast majority have either taken on a supplementary role or interested in doing so. However, nearly 70% of UK CFOs were concerned about the risk of being overstretched. In particular 75% of the CFOs surveyed said understanding board dynamics from a different perspective is the principal benefit of serving on a corporate board. More than half also see it as an opportunity to gain exposure to another company or industry, which enables them to learn lessons that have valuable applications in their core role.

Les Clifford, Partner and Chair of Ernst & Young LLP’s CFO Program in the UK and Ireland, says: “CFOs can make a valuable contribution to charitable roles, because they can apply the discipline and analytical skills that they bring to their core role to create better financial outcomes for the charity, cultural or social enterprise.”

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