Imagine 25,000 automobile parts sourced in wildly different locations throughout the world, magically converging upon an assembly plant to create a vehicle. Consider the complexity for the CFO — the billions of dollars spent for design, for building plants, and for marketing and advertising.
Consider the attention necessary to address taxation and regulation and the complex economic rationale derived from vehicle line profitability, return on invested capital, cash flow and optimal capital structure.
But if anything, the life of the CFO is about to become even more complex.
For the carmaker and supplier, the financial implications largely end when the vehicle leaves the factory. The car then becomes mostly someone else's business, except for auto financing and parts supply. The sale is made to the dealer and the revenue recognized.
However, a vast range of new technologies and technological abilities — graphic processing unit chips, LIDAR, mapping software, deep learning and artificial intelligence — are transforming consumer behavior and revolutionizing the way we lead our lives, including how we use our automobiles.