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Sept 22, 2007 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan chief financial officer's job has become more challenging but the position retains its strategic importance and provides the best stepping stone to the top in the corporate sector, a senior executive said. "It is the same old role which most of our finance professionals are not playing properly," Mahendra Jayasekera, managing director of Lanka Tiles said at the inaugural session of the LBR-LBO Chief Financial Officer (CFO) forum on Thursday.

"So when we find some people are playing their role properly, most people think they are playing a new strategic role."

The CFO was shedding the traditional image of being a staid number cruncher, although the basics of the job had not changed, and emerging as a most sought after professional as competition intensifies in the field of business.

"There's huge demand for competent CFOs the world over," Jayasekera said.

The CFO is "the trusted lieutenant" of the chief executive office and the second-in-command in a company and has a "dashboard" view of company operations.

The CFO is usually the second to know of impending mergers, divestments, new investments and equity offerings.

"So the strategic nature of the CFO's role is increasing," he

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