To become a successful CFO a very important trait is to have strong relationship skills along with a suave ability to say no in circumstances which demands rejection. Senior financial officers should have an impressive array of nuanced strengths, business vision, and ability to build and manage strong working relationships without compromising on ethics, independence, neutrality & objectivity which is very much pertinent to fulfil their fiduciary responsibilities.
Talented CFOs keeps themselves abreast with the knowledge on latest updates on audit & compliances besides being experts in financial reporting, planning, treasury, capital structure, corporate portfolio management and capital allocation. Besides these important job functions, the seasoned CFOs also deftly handle the role of company spokesman with regards to investor relations and in communications to the board.
Handling performance management of the organisation with elan is also one of the key traits of a successful CFO. A rock star CFO is also quite adept in raising funds from financial institutions and investors.
In reality a CFO cannot possess all the qualities and talents mentioned here. He can be either a finance expert or a generalist or a performance leader or a growth champion.
A high performance CFO job is multifaceted and the type job role varies from organisation to organisation. Therefore it will always be prudent to work with a seasoned placement consultant to undertake a SWOT analysis of a prospective candidate to actually determine whether he or she is fitting the bill
A Great Team Player:
CFOs are expected to collaborate with the CEOs and other important stakeholders in the organisation in designing business strategy & competitiveness, maintaining regulatory compliance & investor relationships, handling capital management & financial reporting.
Therefore it is desirable for him not to have any iota of ego so that an organisation is not plagued by any business disruption in the long run.
Assessing and articulating the behavioural competency of a prospective candidate applying for the role of a high performance CFO is not an easy task and hence lot of organisations seek the expertise of top executive search firms who are armed with behavioural and talent assessment tools to determine the right person for the right job.
Capability To See The Big Picture:
A CFO should be tech savvy so that he can check out what’s going on in his business in real time. Top CFOs collaborate with CIOs and IT departments and play key role in implementation of ERP, PLM, CRM, Custom Business Application Software, Analytics and other advanced technologies to get the best out of their business and charting business strategies in to financial strategies by simplifying and interpreting data. Hence before selecting a potential candidate as a CFO it will be prudent to judge the technology viewpoint and functional prowess of the candidate. Sometimes the in-house intelligence of an organisation cannot comprehend the tech savviness of a prospective CFO hence it is always safe to vet the entire process via a seasoned executive search agency who have the means and methods for ascertaining the competence of the candidate.
To optimally derive results and effectively handling P&L, CFO’s should be well acquainted with the operations of each and every department to have a clear knowledge of the organizations entire portfolio of businesses. They should have a keen understanding and capability to implement key operational KPI’s, not just financial metrics to achieve performance goals throughout the organisation.
Also they should have a knack and requisite functional experience in order to identify an operational problem and analysing its root cause to solve the issue.
On boarding a CFO in your organisation needs thorough planning and business objectives should be clearly defined so that he or she can truly help in optimizing the outcomes. Inducting a talented CFO can go a long way in evolving your organization with a strong balance sheet.