The role of CFO in family owned businesses: a literature review

Songini Lucrezia, Vola Paola

This paper is intended to contribute to the debate on the role of professionalization in FBs. It is a positioning paper, whose main aim is to highlight the state of the art of literature and studies about family owned businesses, with regard to the role of professional managers, particularly the CFO. A detailed review of most significant theoretical streams is presented in order to outline the features, the drivers and the effect of the presence and role of CFO and professionalization, as well the impact on family business performance. In particular, through literature review, this study aims to identify the variables that explain the presence of the CFO in family firms; the impact of the CFO’s personal features, professional experiences, and role on the professionalization of family firms; the relationship between the role of CFO, the professionalization of the firm and its economic performance. The research arises from the evidence of a quite limited diffusion of professionalization processes in the Italian FBs, especially the SMEs. Entrepreneurship, which is considered a point of strength of SMEs, when joins up with a very poor professionalization can become a point of weakness. The significant importance of family-owned SMEs for Italian economy, along with the actual financial and competitive crisis, that has involved these enterprises, asks for more diffused professionalization processes, in terms of both governance and managerial mechanisms (especially strategic planning and management control systems – MCS) and professional managers. […]

Key-Words: Entrepreneurship and Family Business

Figure 1- Framework – Drivers of CFO’s role

Table 1- Review of literature on CFO in FBs