Had Valerie Burman entered the CFO office a decade ago, you wonder whether the role would be as good a match for the accomplished finance executive as it appears to be today.

Back in 2007, after working nearly a decade in M&A as an investment banker, Burman exited a banking career to take on a corporate development role at Business Objects, a French software company that was soon to be acquired by SAP.

Post-acquisition, Burman quickly found a groundswell of opportunities coming her way inside SAP, where she would serve in a variety of roles involving technology partnerships, business development, and product management.

Fast-forward a few years, and we find Stanford Law graduate Burman serving as general counsel first to Mindjet and then to crowdsourcing innovation upstart Spigit.

“I would say that working from those perspectives—although it is a bit of a roundabout way to become a CFO—has really led me to a place where I can be a CFO with a business-minded, strategic approach,” says Burman, who points out that along the way, she was given the opportunity to closely observe the board room decision-making behind certain acquisitions designed to drive growth.

“The breadth of experiences that I have taken with me are not necessarily specific to my core finance role, but speak to my ability to understand cross-functionally what’s important to my peers,” Burman observes, while underscoring the growing cross-functional role that finance plays in business today.

For just as Burman’s resume has evolved, so too has the role of CFO. – Jack Sweeney


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