• March 18, 2019

What does it take to become a CFO?

What does it take to become a CFO?

970 675 Yasmin Aslam

Do you have the right skills and experiences to be considered for the CFO position?

There’s no doubt that the position has grown and the skills and experiences to become a successful CFO are no longer confined to those of a traditional Accounting or Finance role.  Today a good understanding of the wider functions across the business, particularly IT and HR are needed as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skill:

Holding the CFO position requires some key qualities:

  • Vision and foresight combined with the skills of a strategist – you’ll need to be able to have a good grasp of the bigger picture, able to develop and recommend strategies that will improve the overall outcomes of the organisation.
  • A goal orientated mindset – the ability to set and achieve your own goals, as well as assisting your team to set and achieve theirs, holding them accountable, coaching and developing them when they fall short.
  • Honesty and transparency – Always being totally aware of the numbers, with the ability to communicate them clearly to the CEO, the board and to your teams.
  • Confidence and leadership – have the confidence to say it like it is, if the true facts are laid out, the right plan of action can be put in place and executed.
  • Knowledge and curiosity – invest time to learn and develop yourself and your team. Keep challenging, asking questions and analysing the data.
  • Adapt with speed – be able to adapt and react quickly to changes in the market so that you reach your goals quickly and the most efficient way possible.

Most CFO’s will have a formal finance qualification such as; Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Public Accountant and at least 8 to 10 years’ experience in a senior role in finance, business economics or management.

You’re more than likely to have a career plan if your aim is to become a successful CFO, but it’s worth considering carefully the roles and promotions that you go for, choosing those that can equip you with the right skills and experience.  Having technical skills is important but developing soft skills can help set you apart and make the difference – you will need to be able to build rapport with a wide range of internal and external stakeholder’s.  Developing your sales skills and having a strong commercial awareness will stand you in good stead.  Where possible, choose to work with people and within organisation that promote a growth mindset and offer mentoring schemes that can help you to build your experience and knowledge.

At Robertson Bell we pride ourselves in offering a consultative service to our clients and candidates, advising on career development and finance team structures.  Do get in contact with one of our specialist consultants if you would like advice on how best to grow your team, or about career enhancing opportunities in the not for profit or public sector.

Useful articles:
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How to strategically position yourself to be headhunted

Coping with the stress of changing jobs

The CFO’s role is changing

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