The Core Skills Every CFO Needs: A CFO is a leader, advisor, and forecaster as a key part of any organization’s c-suite team. It’s one position that every financial executive aspires to achieve – but the competition is fierce. Your skill set is what can set you apart from the competition.
FD Capital is a boutique financial recruitment agency that specializes in connecting start-ups and scaling businesses with the UK’s brightest and most talented financial executives. One of the most popular roles that we recruit for is Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
The role of the modern CFO has evolved beyond solely financial management. Today’s CFOs are taking on an increasingly strategic and operational role within their organizations as the second-in-command to their CEO and a key advisor. It’s never been more essential for a CFO to have a wide spectrum of experience and transferable skills.
We’re sharing the core skills that every CFO needs to be successful in this ever-evolving c-suite role.
A CFO can’t hide behind spreadsheets and presentations. Communication is one of the most essential skills for any CFO. The role of CFO interacts with almost every stakeholder in the company, from customers to board members and employees. You’ll need to be able to communicate your company’s visions, goals, and financial position.
As CFO, your forecasting and analysis are more valuable when you can easily communicate your thinking in a way that is easy to understand and can influence others. Your messaging as CFO is the backbone of your success.
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Any c-suite leader has to be technologically advanced. CFOs will oversee a finance department and should be up to date with the latest technological advancements that can assist their department and the wider organization.
Investing in technology can produce a more cost-efficient and effective financial department that can provide insights and data that boosts productivity. Today’s CFOs should be advocates for technological advancement throughout their organization to improve internal efficiency.
Being technologically advanced means researching the latest developments and introducing new systems that can create a more productive, cost-effective, and efficient organization.
One of the leading responsibilities of a CFO is to be a strategist that provides insights to other c-suite leaders, including the CEO. Your strategy skills are essential to prepare your company for what will happen in the future and to provide advice on short and long-term goals.
Your skills as a strategist will help determine the future trajectory of your company. Strategists need to be able to anticipate the changes in ever-moving environments and maintain a forward-thinking approach. You’ll be called onto as CFO to feed into the company’s wider strategy and to react to changes within the organization and industry.
Data is your bread and butter as a CFO. One thing you’ll do every day is to analyse data and offer insights that will ground the strategy of your fellow c-suite leaders. Not everyone will understand this data.
As CFO, it’s your responsibility to translate this information and help your colleagues understand its impact. You should be able to provide recommendations or suggestions on how your company can make practical changes based on your analysis.
Risk management is one of the most vital components of any CFO’s job. Following the impact of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, it’s never been more vital for CFOs to be risk-aware. The pandemic showed just how quickly the working environment can change. The widely predicted recession and inflation could have the same impact in the coming months and years.
You should be able to step back from your position to look at the wider picture. Risk awareness is no longer just considering potential financial situations. You also need to be to calculate the risk of cyber-attacks, supply chain issues, and employee retention.
Overseeing risk management means that you’ll need to work closely with other c-suite leaders, including the CIO, CEO, and COO.
The Bigger Picture
It’s easy to get caught up solely in the financial situation of a company. A successful full time or interim CFO will know that looking at the bigger picture is just as important. You should consider the wider industry picture and the global situation.
CFOs who can see the bigger picture and look beyond finance can offer more informed insights. If your company is moving into foreign markets, it’s even more essential to appreciate the bigger picture. Geopolitical implications, changing markets, and systems are all things that every CFO should consider in their analysis.
Another thing to consider is your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy. The ever-evolving role of CFO means that you’ll be expected to have the skills to oversee socially conscious issues. You want to link your strategy to ways of boosting your company’s ESG to bolster its public and industry image.
When you become a CFO, you become a leader within your organization. You’ll be the head of the financial department and expected to take on a leadership role as an advisor to the CEO. Prepare for the role of CFO by broadening your experience and communication skills to make you a better leader.
You’ll be more likely to find success with your strategy and growth plans when your colleagues can see you as a leader. Working with a mentor is an ideal way to prepare you for the role of CFO and ensure that you have the leadership skills necessary.
CFO is one of the most important roles within any organization. You’ll be a representative of the company’s senior management and interact with everyone, from potential investors to board members and customers. Your role as CFO will see you become a face of the company who should inspire those around you, from colleagues to investors.
Are you looking to take the next step in your career and become a CFO? Join our talent pool today by sending your CV to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org