4 abilities of great CFOs.

Great communicators create comfort and trust so that actionable decisions involving financials can be made confidently throughout enterprises. CFOs and their teams rely on technology to analyze the massive amounts of data available to them. Modern financial management software helps with informed decision-making, freeing up time to focus on strategy and the critical advisory role. Effective CFOs have capabilities that space a range of functions and skills—both hard and soft. Serving as a CFO requires a background in accounting or finance and an advanced business degree, generally including an MBA. CFOs must also have experience analyzing data to make recommendations on financial and organizational strategy.

  • In his role, he led finance teams in 45 countries through a significant transformation.
  • Noah says CFOs are quickly becoming more analytical at their core.
  • It’s also a good program for other people within the finance function—such as analysts, treasurers, controllers, and those in financial planning and analysis—who would benefit from sharpening their strategic acumen.
  • As your organization recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the perfect time to assess your talent management processes to ensure you have the right leaders for what’s next in your organization.

Senior Principal Kurt Groeninger talks about creating the foundation for your ESG strategy by setting up the right infrastructure for your organization. Weekly leadership messages from our CEO Gary Burnison, capturing the mood and the moment with storytelling and insights.

What is a CFO in charge of?

In order to do that, you must constantly assess your overall goals and make enough time for external networking and talent search. Steve Priest, eBay’s CFO, stresses the importance of communicating information about the company’s finances with the workforce in particular. “As financial leaders, we don’t generally take enough time to explain technical financial concepts to the broader population. When we do it effectively, though, we bring people on board and create an affinity across the whole organization,” he said. An effective CFO should have the business acumen to take strategic initiatives for every department. They partner with the c-suite and board of directors to build the company’s future.

4 abilities of great CFOs.

When the dataset is complete and you base your modeling on real-time data, you can empower and enable other business leaders to make better decisions, according to Peter. Real-time decision-making with complete visibility https://personal-accounting.org/ into business health can only happen if you bring your data into a single system. Being responsible for herding that data from across the business into your finance tech stack is the key to being an effective CFO today.

Is the CEO higher than the CFO?

Financial reports completed under a CFO must adhere to financial standards. Mitchell Grant is a self-taught investor with over 5 years of experience as a financial trader. Taking constructive criticism in reviews can be the key to advancing a career.

  • So, no one tells the Finance business partners to go and develop those skills.
  • We’ve outlined what it takes to become one, the skills you will need, and provided some pointers in the steps you can take right now no matter where you are in your career.
  • The battle for talent in the finance sector has never been more fierce.
  • The direction of this changing skills trend is clear from data in a CFO study from organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry.
  • Obtaining such certifications typically entails meeting experience and educational standards, as well as passing a test.
  • With cleaner, faster data inputs comes richer, timely analysis and the ability to do high-value problem solving and strategic thinking.

And what’s most important, try to think beyond numbers and constantly develop your role as a visionary leader. You need to be the voice of your company and the one who is always pushing and encouraging change.

Finance Must Be Embedded Throughout the Company

BMA Group is a human resources consulting firm that provides innovative business solutions to help our clients thrive in today’s ever-changing, hi-tech global marketplace. Times have changed, and so has the role and the required skill set of for the 21st century CFO. However, sometimes building capabilities in-house can cost too much or take too much time.

What departments does a CFO oversee?

The CFO is a financial controller who handles everything relating to cash flow, financial planning, and taxation issues. A CFO is often the highest financial position and the third-highest position in a company, playing a vital role in the company's strategic initiatives.

While change management remains a key priority in business today, CFOs are increasingly taking on this responsibility as a result of the great cost implications involved. In addition to building relations, identifying opportunities, minimising risk and improving long-term business performance, the CFO adds global scope to their repertoire. Two of the CFO’s main duties are to reduce costs and improve efficiency, two essential elements of finance transformation and a catalyst for business change.

The Chief Financial Officer: From Guardian of Strategy to Catalyst for Change

Many mid-sized businesses have a CFO who is good at accounting and budgeting but does not truly understand the company’s cost structure, profitability drivers, and customer needs. In a “business as usual” environment, small companies may think of the finance function mostly in terms of bookkeeping and accounts payable, and often justify not having a CFO at all. The third area to consider when thinking about CFO skills and Finance business partner skills is what many people call ‘soft skills’, often described as ‘behavioural’ skills. I think it’s unfortunate because I think we don’t think we serve very well those who aspire to Finance business partner and CFO roles if we’re not more specific.

4 abilities of great CFOs.

If they do, be willing to say “yes” to investments that can help drive strategic growth. Emotional intelligence is essentially the way a person perceives, understands, expresses, and manages emotions. It’s more than the latest buzzword; possessing a high level of emotional intelligence is a key indicator of future success. CFOs with higher levels of emotional intelligence actually perform better in their roles at healthcare organizations.

Changing or Evolving Role of the CFO

Paul is an international CFO with experience across multinational companies ranging from $250-$900 million in turnover. After roles of increasing responsibility with General Electric and Orica, he now freelances to help companies with his operational finance and transformation experience. He has led simplification projects across geographically disparate finance teams and has worked in the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Hungary. They must understand risk through a commercial as well as a financial lens.

There’s a reason B2C often seek to hire CFOs away from competitors, as Netflix did when it hired Activision’s finance chief. Specialized expertise is key in framing KPIs and metrics for various company types. CFOs are captains of a team that covers both accounting and finance and consists of senior leaders, such as controllers and VPs of finance, and operational staff — accountants, bookkeepers, tax specialists, data analysts.

A vast majority of CFOs are investing in technologies like cloud and analytics to drive growth. In sharing the company’s cloud value story, the CFO can play a leadership role alongside the CEO. Finance leaders can also pinpoint capital commitments, helping drive strategies for long-term growth.

The United States is an international financial hub and global economic growth increases employment growth in the U.S. financial industry. Companies continue to increase profits leading to a demand for CFOs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job outlook for financial managers to grow 15% between 2019 and 2029. The average annual salary for a financial manager was $134,180 in 2020.

The more they know about all the aspects of running a business, the easier it becomes for them to draw on this knowledge to make quick and smart decisions. As expected, being promoted to this position requires not just an outstanding educational background and work experience, but also some qualities that guarantee success in carrying on with the job responsibilities. While analytics outside of the enterprises will become increasingly important, CFOs must also be able to look at the value their company is creating based on variables such as intellectual property and intangible assets. Those non-financial business drivers are becoming increasingly important. Non-financial data may include machine-versus-human labor and productivity, and how many products were consumed or sold in the marketplace.

They know it’s not about them; it’s about the company, and it’s about the people. One example of that mindset is a rule I followed when hiring talent, which was to look for people who were smarter than me. If those aspiring to be CFO are afraid of that, they may not be a strong leader. A Chief Financial Officer is in charge of a company’s financial operations and is active in budgeting and financial reporting.

The CFO is the window into the business for shareholders, investors, and other external stakeholders. Never has the role of the finance department and the CFO been so complex and strategic. It enables and empowers the organization rather than replacing it.


“We should only be spending about 10% of our efforts and time on transactional and 90% of our time on analytics,” he says. CFO of the international unit of TNT Express, a global transport and logistics provider. In his role, he led finance 4 abilities of great CFOs. teams in 45 countries through a significant transformation. Today his team travels all over the world, talking to CFOs and other financial experts about company needs, transformative changes in their industry, and much more.

“To really get insights into a business you have to look at the underlying non-financial drivers to the financial information,” he says. However, the more frequent scenario is that the projected savings and revenue synergies don’t fully occur because of incompatible cultures and conflicting business models.

They Take Responsibility for Democratizing Data

Identify, evaluate, communicate and drive the implementation of strategic choices that lead to sustainable value creation and organisational growth. Generate actionable, strategic insights that improve the quality of decision-making across your organisation. Build, lead, motivate and sustain high-performing teams to accelerate their impact. Analyse the latest trends and external forces shaping your business, to elevate your credibility as a trusted internal advisor and key decision-maker.


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