education and experience

It teaches how to maintain strong internal controls and report financial processes effectively. The finance department requires a comprehensive and vigorous data management strategy to direct the collection, storage, analysis, and reporting of the financial data extracted from various sources. A big part of the CFO’s job is to ensure that the CEO and board’s decisions are financially sound. That means the finance chief must be a master of budgeting, analysis, compliance, and other accounting principles.

  • Through advanced analytics, finance leaders can accelerate the decision-making process backed up with sufficient information and unwrap the company’s overlooked opportunities and threats.
  • This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice.
  • Many have stepped into more of a leadership role in their organizations.
  • However, not all CFOs are comfortable with their heightened visibility and influence.
  • An emerging field for qualified accountants is to become a virtual chief financial officer .

They procure it from various, stakeholders, and third parties, converge it in one place and continue financial analysis and forecasting. If these CFOs feel they need to improve their people skills, they should consider executive leadership courses and take advantage of networking and mentoring opportunities. “Soft” skills can be developed; you don’t necessarily have to be born with them. If you’re looking to make your mark on your company and your industry, the top finance job is a prime place to be today.

Traits of a Great CFO: Evaluating Your Financial Team

That includes financial forecasting and modeling based not only on the company’s past performance but on internal and external factors that may affect revenue and expenses. The CFO is tasked with making sense of the various departmental level forecasts to create profit projections for the CEO and shareholders. Today’s CFO is fundamentally different from the CFO of yesterday in very important ways. While the CFO of yesterday was more of a support function, the CFO of today and of tomorrow is of strategic relevance to a company.

They made coaching, mentoring, and leadership development a big priority through all levels of the finance organization. They not only spent time on individual succession planning for key roles in the organization, but also on ensuring the right balance of technical, analytical, and leadership skills within their team. They judged their own capability on the strength of the team they had around them. By enabling automation, finance functions like financial planning and analysis, tax planning, investment decisions, auditing, and financial risk management were positively impacted. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the CFOs of private companies like never before, but their agility to adapt to continuous change, to “think big” and to be “inspirational leaders” have proved vital. A new EY survey highlights these and other characteristics of private company CFOs, including their embrace of technology and stewardship of long-term value. However, COVID-19 has also reinforced the need for “softer” skills based on empathy and emotional intelligence, and the survey suggests that private company CFOs need to focus on developing their people skills.

Return on investment (ROI)

It’s also where structured planning and forecasting exercises, like scenario planning and FP&A, fall. Meeting revenue and earnings goals and keeping cash flow stable are clearly in the CFO’s purview. There’s no doubt that a global pandemic made the value of an experienced hand on the finance helm very evident. But our take is that there’s more to the rise of the CFO than an economic crisis. Let’s look at the role, responsibilities and skills finance chiefs need to serve their companies well.


The most 4 abilities of great CFOs. finance teams I have worked in had dedicated finance analysis and support attached to the most important functions in the business. This opens up the dialogue between finance and operations and it fosters a better flow of data between areas of the business. This makes the functions more accountable for their financial metrics and also allows the finance team to provide more insightful commentary through a better understanding of the business.

Qualities of an Effective Profit & Loss Report

In other words, be focused on the future and let the controllers deal with the past. Besides all things mentioned above, a great CFO must nourish a strong and trusted relationship with the CEO. Lauded by leading lights like Facebook and HubSpot, it offers expert insights, priceless tuition, and awesome resources. From exclusive content by industry experts and an ever-increasing bank of templates, to 100s of hours’ worth of presentations and mentors, our membership plans are packed with awesome sales enablement resources. Being resilient enough to face issues as they come and adapt accordingly is one of the most sought-after CFO skills. A key skill that falls beyond the traditional spectrum of a CFO’s competencies is adapting to new technology. So, here’s a deep dive into how to be a successful CFO in today’s world.

ServiceNow CFO: ‘Ability to snap up great talent’ is getting better – Yahoo Finance

ServiceNow CFO: ‘Ability to snap up great talent’ is getting better.

Posted: Thu, 19 Jan 2023 08:00:00 GMT [source]

There are also private firms and even online options that offer CFO training or courses. It can be helpful to take in the reality of who CFOs are, where they tend to come from, and how accounting professionals got from point A to point B in their journey. Getting a masters of science in accounting, or an MSA, is a deeper dive into accounting principles and concepts, including auditing/taxation, financial analysis, statement analysis, IT and more. An MBA is achieved by taking the GMAT, and then completing an MBA program. Accounting, marketing, finance, economics, ethics, management and more are areas that an MBA will cover. The ability to communicate well, articulate goals, cast vision, and manage projects may make all the difference between you and another CFO applicant. While both the CPA and CMA can help you become a CFO, there are some key differences in the areas of specialization for each certification that could impact your career path.

All big corporations have a treasury, and the jobs you can get can include important CFO-related skills like cash forecasting, capital/investment management, risk management, and more. A masters in public administration provides in-depth knowledge of communications, human resource management, public service leadership, organizational theory, institutions/values and more. The high-level strategies and visioning that drives a company’s financial planning and operations is overseen by the CFO.

  • CFOs are concerned with ensuring that customer payments are made in full and on time and controlling expenses so that enough cash is on hand to meet financial obligations.
  • Expert communication, presentation and team-building skills are key to all of these expectations, so begin now looking for opportunities to improve and enhance these abilities.
  • Most workers are eager to have a better dialogue with management, including senior leadership.
  • To become a CFO, a candidate must have a strong accounting/finance background as well as a professional designation such as the CMA.

A remote financial close is more challenging when the technological infrastructure you rely on is dated and siloed. Non-financial data may include machine-versus-human labor and productivity, and how many products were consumed or sold in the marketplace.