You’re a successful financial controller. And now you’re ready to take your career to the next level.
You want to be a chief financial officer (CFO), but you don’t just want the title. You want to be a great CFO, a transformational business leader.
So, how do you accomplish this? Here are 10 tips to help you get started.
To become a CFO, you need to show that you are an effective leader. That means you excel at motivating members of your team, you are skilled at making decisions, you understand how an entire business operates, and makes revenues and profits and differentiates its products and services.
According to Deloitte, other than technical financial experience, the most important skill needed in a CFO role is corporate strategy – cited by 60 percent.
3. Presentations and Communications
When you become a CFO, you’ll probably do a lot more presentations than in your role as a controller. So, you’ll want to sharpen your ability to give an effective presentation to a wide range of audiences such as investors, industry analysts, the press and employees.
As a CFO, you’ll need to communicate effectively with the CEO, board of directors, department leaders and employees. Therefore, having strong communication skills will benefit you.
4. External Relationships
You have to be proactive and comfortable developing relationships with a broad range of people outside your company. They include investors, business partners, lenders and CFOs within your industry.
As a CFO, you’ll want to be a “super-connector” between yourself and your business and all the people who have an interest in your company, what it does, how it’s performing and what it stands for.
5. Internal Relationships
To prepare to become a CFO, you’ll also want to proactively reach out to internal stakeholders beyond the finance department. Meet with leaders of human resources, marketing, sales, IT and supply chain.
6. Stay High-Level
Develop the discipline to focus on higher-level strategic business situations and decisions. That means you’ll need to deep dive less into the details such as debits and credits, accounting procedures and audits.
You will want to pay close attention to the latest finance, accounting and accounts payable software and how they help your business serve customers faster and easier at lower costs. Stay current.
8. Say Yes
To become an effective CFO, you’ll want to develop the habit of saying “yes” more often. When ideas come your way from colleagues, be open and receptive to them so they’ll keep flowing to you.
9. Talent Evaluator and Developer
You need to be an effective recruiter, evaluator and developer of talented financial pros. How do you do that? Spend plenty of time helping your team members grow in their careers and hire people who’ll boost the performance of the team while fitting in well.
10. Training and Education
The major point is you want to expand your education beyond accounting and finance. You’ll want to have a strong understanding of strategy, leadership, operations, marketing, economics and sales – all of which you can gain in an MBA program.
In the near future many new CFO roles could be opening as current CFOs unexpectedly retire. What this means is that, coming soon, there’ll be more openings for you to become a great CFO.
Download the full eBook for more actionable tips to help you get started on your career journey.