If you spend any time receiving daily alerts for job wanted postings, you likely know there are numerous companies looking for new finance leadership. Lots of opportunity out there.
So I wanted to give a few tips for a younger person that may be looking for a promotion to their first Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) role, or perhaps you have landed that job and could use a few tips, especially for accounting professionals that are transitioning to the CFO role.
Every company handles various tasks differently, and “pushes” down responsibility in different ways depending on the size of the company, available resources, management style, etc. Therefore, the following is a list of a few things to think about, keeping in mind there are no “bright” lines:
CFO’s can fail because they stay in the weeds, either due to style or necessity due to limited resources. I believe in a very under-appreciated best practice that a second set of eyes can provide enormous benefit. It is difficult to analyze a given set of facts if you have to compile the facts first. For example, if a CFO has to compile a financial statement from scratch or has to trace numbers from financial reports to the underlying supporting documentation as a first review because the review has not been performed by a controller, then it is very difficult to perform a higher level “smell test” of the financial statements, which is key for ensuring accuracy and to begin to draw conclusions from the data.
The CFO role is a key role; it is very exciting and very challenging. I encourage any new CFO to embrace the role and develop the habit of continuous lifelong learning.
Karl spends his time thinking about ways to help organizations with sound financial decisions.
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