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CFOs May Have the Toughest Job in the C-Suite

Don’t think of them as bean counters anymore. These days they’re more like strategic advisers.

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Illustration: Jill Senft for Bloomberg Businessweek

In March 2020, Gina Mastantuono had been chief financial officer at software maker ServiceNow Inc. for about two months. When the pandemic hit, she had to make a series of snap decisions, including advising the chief executive officer to continue with hiring and expansion plans despite the prospect of slower revenue growth and shifting most of the company’s 10,000 employees to remote work.

It’s largely panned out: The Santa Clara, Calif., provider of business workflow applications clinched almost $6 billion in sales last year, 70% higher than pre-Covid, and now has more than 19,000 employees. CFOs, says Mastantuono, are more like strategic advisers these days “and much less the bean counters of the past.”