Becoming an exceptional CFO is not just about the numbers anymore.
Although accounting is all about logic, reason and deduction, finance departments can no longer function on these principles alone. Companies are expecting much more from their CFOs – it is not enough that they are good with figures and need to be strategic thinkers and have great leadership skills too.
1. Strategic Thinkers
CEOs rely on their CFO as a partner and have the expectation that they play a greater role in financial leadership as well as driving broader business strategies. Over and above the regular numbers reporting, a CFO should have the ability to shape an action plan and make decisions that are relative to achieving the overall goals of the business.
In addition, as the keepers of the financial records, CFOs are in the unique position to be involved in departmental objectives and performance in order to align these with current and future business strategies.
2. Leadership In Business
The CFO is the right-hand of the CEO and as such needs to step out of from behind the desk to become an effective team leader and excel in business leadership. Applying the wisdom of Solomon is key to an exceptional CFO where sound decision-making is based on extensive experience as well as a good knowledge and understanding of the company finances and figures.
Leading by example is integral to broaden the skills of the finance department as it moves away from solely performing traditional accounting functions within the company. A CFO must realize that flexibility and versatility are key in recruiting candidates to create a solid financial team.
3. A Resident Advisor
One of the major changes in the role of CFO in today’s business environment is that their advice is not simply valued but indispensable.
Businesses across the globe are currently facing multiple challenges including heightened customer expectations, disruption from competition, shortages in talent and increasingly volatile financial conditions. Executives in the boardroom are looking for innovative solutions to overcome these challenges and are turning to their CFO’s to tackle the most uncertain economic time in decades.
In addition to this, a CFO can benefit from being a bit of a salesperson. The ability to think strategically and create a well developed plan is of little use when it is never implemented. The CFO must be able to articulate their plans in a way that is easy for those with no financial background to understand while creating the belief that the plan will succeed. So why not rent a cfo for your business?
* A last word on skills
Experience and a strong background in finance is critical to the position of CFO. A financial expert has gained knowledge and whole set of skills through experience to make them uniquely suited to providing expert financial management.
However, these are not the skills that make an exceptional CFO who has similar experience to many of his/her peers. It is those additional skills such as strategic thinking and the ability to lead a team that will set a financial expert apart and provide a business with a financial department that forms part of the strategic heart of the business.