by Rob Joseph, Director, BeaconCFO Plus
What comes to mind when you picture a CFO at work? You might imagine an individual wearing a suit, seated alone at a mahogany desk in a corner office. He stares at spreadsheets on his laptop and occasionally punches numbers into a calculator. This perception of what a CFO does is common, but it is incomplete. A successful CFO is not isolated from or superior to his team. He isn’t glued to spreadsheets or concerned only with numbers.
The best CFOs are big picture thinkers. They are strategists. Leaders. Team players. They roll up their sleeves, take a seat at the table, and help drive the overall growth and success of the organization. It is these attributes and more that will allow a CFO to not only know their numbers but also move the needle on achieving long-term goals.
These are just a few of the qualities to look for when hiring or outsourcing a CFO for your organization:
- Honest: CFOs must be willing to have frank—and sometimes difficult or uncomfortable—conversations if it is in the best interest of the organization.
- Confident: Because CFOs are often in a position to make critical decisions on behalf of the company, they must act with both confidence and assertiveness.
- Results-Oriented: CFOs have a unique vantage point within any organization. They should use this to set measurable and achievable goals that align with the company’s overarching vision and strategy.
- Forward-Thinking: A capable CFO is not just internally focused but also looks outward. He is constantly keeping a pulse on key competitors, the market, and what is going on outside of the organization.
- Data-Driven: Any CFO will tell you that you have to know your numbers. But a superior CFO will seek out and draw on data from all areas of his organization, ranging from IT activity reports to customer data.
- Focused on Talent: A successful CFO is focused on putting the right people in the right roles to benefit the organization’s long-term goals. He ensures the team has the training and tools to be operationally efficient and promotes financial literacy within the company.
- Collaborative: Gone are the days when the CFO was the gatekeeper. CFOs have an opportunity to impact the culture of their organization. As Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” A superior CFO knows that success is fueled by a strong, open, and collaborative culture.
What qualities does your organization look for in a CFO? If your business would benefit from the input, strategy, and support of an experienced CFO, reach out to our team. Our virtual CFOs provide part-time and project-based financial services to businesses of all sizes and in various industries. Outsource your financial strategy and management to one of our capable CFOs and realize the difference for your organization.