Communication Key in Controlling Expenses

Explaining the financial implications of decisions enhances your ability to cut costs, CFOs say.

Expense management isn’t only about dollars and data. In reality, a CFO’s most important role might be communicating with other managers and leaders to set goals, explore expense ratios, compare benchmarks, and delve into the factors that drive costs.

That’s the word from “A New Era in Expense Management,” a white paper from the CUNA CFO Council.

Several credit union financial leaders cited in the report note that this focus on communications runs counter to the stereotype of the CFO who hides in an office filled with ledgers, emerging at regular intervals to growl at co-workers who seek to spend money in unexpected ways.

“You can’t be the person who no one wants to see,” says Lourdes Ruano, CFO at $352 million asset SkyOne Federal Credit Union, Hawthorne, Calif. “Communication is critical. If you are unable to work with and communicate with people, you will be left out of conversations and left out of the planning. Knowing the personalities  involved and how people work has helped me continually be involved in helping set the direction of the credit union.”

It’s highly valuable to earn a reputation as someone who is willing to work with departments and explain the financial implications of decisions. The CFO’s approach should be weighted toward collaboration, rather than sending a message of rigid control.

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