Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a highly-respected and well-understood position with impressive earning potential that many finance professionals aspire to. By overseeing the financial activities of a company, the CFO provides key expertise in budgeting, fiscal reporting, and profit growth, and is well-compensated for his role.
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. Here is our list of top qualities of a successful CFO.
1. A Strategic Mindset
Strategic planning represents a big bulk of a CFO’s responsibilities. They must plan and execute trackable business goals, assist with financial operations, then measure performance. This makes the CFO one of the main persons who establish the direction of a business. Without a strategic mindset able to plan, analyse, compare and make optimal decisions, a CFO will fail to drive business growth and increase profitability.
A visionary mind oriented towards “bigger picture” growth and financial foresight are some of the key ingredients that allow a CFO to achieve the company’s goals. It’s important for someone in this role to be able to anticipate financial issues and market changes to ensure the company maintains its standing. A CFO must have not only vision but also the courage to follow it confidently. With foresight, they are able to make relevant decisions with significant positive implications on the long-term
.3. An Intuitive Understanding of Business
It’s impossible to become a CFO without impressive competence in accounting and finances. But CFOs are not just there to sign off financial statements and ensure that accounting principles are followed accordingly. A good CFO must have a comprehensive knowledge of how business works, besides numbers. 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.
4. Excellent Communication
The ability to communicate effectively with employees, other executives, stakeholders and external partners are among the top soft skills of a great CFO. Not only that they must communicate complex financial information clearly to both financial specialists and non-specialists, but they need to maintain timely communication so information reaches the right person at the right time. Without excellent oral and written communication, the CFO will not convince stakeholders and management that his vision for the company can work.
5. Honesty and Integrity
Since behind any business, there is collaborative work and many people who put all their skills, energy and motivation into ensuring success, honesty and integrity are core qualities that determine the health of a company. This is also valid when it comes to the qualities that a CFO must possess. Their words always have weight, so employees and stakeholders must be certain that the CFO is telling the truth, even when the risks were miscalculated or the goals weren’t accomplished. Honesty and integrity guarantee transparency, which is invaluable for the success of a business.
Want to be a CFO? Do you have what it takes?