SIZING UP Tomorrow's CFO.It used to be that when an executive search firm sought out a chief financial officer for a Fortune 500 client, the successful candidate merely filled a supporting role supporting role n → second rôle m
supporting role n → ruolo non protagonista on the management team. Not anymore. Today, executive searches focus on finding a CFO See Chief Financial Officer. who not only has financial acumen but who can be a true business partner with the CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. -- and who has the breadth and depth to serve as the organization's number two executive.
To achieve this "high-on-the-ladder" status, today's CFOs have learned to develop strong interpersonal, leadership and communications skills. These have become as essential as providing oversight for financial systems, financial planning Financial planning
Evaluating the investing and financing options available to a firm. Planning includes attempting to make optimal decisions, projecting the consequences of these decisions for the firm in the form of a financial plan, and then comparing future performance against and cash management.
What's going on What's Going On is a record by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. Released on May 21, 1971 (see 1971 in music), What's Going On reflected the beginning of a new trend in soul music. ? When did "maturity and perspective that add value beyond the finance function" become as important as "competence in the technical aspects of finance and accounting including planning/budgeting, forecasting, systems and capital allocation?" When did being a "change agent" become part of the CFO's job description?
Actually, a CFO who simply crunches numbers isn't totally obsolete, but fiscal know-how has certainly taken its place alongside skills not generally associated with the green-visor image of traditional CFOs. Being a CFO today is as much about strategic partnering and overall management of the business as it is about accounting and reporting.
What skills should today's CFOs be building in order to make real career progress? A solid technical foundation is essential for anyone who occupies the office of finance, but talented CFOs need the vision to shape strategy and the smarts to provide decision-making information for the entire organization; the CFO is now expected to enhance business value, not simply keep score. In addition, the CFO is expected to be a sounding board on a full range of issues, including operations, human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. and technology.
New Economy Criteria
What else are Fortune 500 companies really looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. in their next CFO? Based on the "key selection criteria" desired by our clients, they are still looking for CFOs with a unique combination of skills. A strong financial background is a given, but what else? Today's companies want a CEO who:
* Has the ability to command credibility and influence outcomes at the highest levels within the organization, and displays strong influencing skills and the ability to operate effectively within a matrixed organization.
* Is resourceful re·source·ful
Able to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations.
re·sourceful·ly adv. and action-oriented, with a strong sense of urgency.
* Is a collaborative team player with effective interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to relate to diverse internal and external audiences.
* Can serve as a "strategic business partner" to the CEO and division presidents in reviewing performance and identifying improvement opportunities.
* Can lead the due diligence Research; analysis; your homework. This term has caught on in all industries, because it sounds so "wired." Who would want to do analysis or research when they can do due diligence. See wired. , analysis and negotiation, deal-structuring and other activities associated with outside funding for merger and acquisition activities; and develop and maintain funding strategies that support and achieve business objectives.
* Is able to think strategically and act tactically.
* Is naturally curious, is a constant source of new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track. , and is an activist who is willing to take calculated risks.
* Will instinctively understand and focus his/her efforts on "value creation," and demonstrate a commitment to excellence in customer service and teambuilding.
* Is "street smart" and savvy, and will be a natural "change agent."
* Has a track record of recruiting, motivating and developing talent.
* Demonstrates a strong sense of "ownership" of the company.
So, how can you show your next boss that you have these skills? The reality is that for all the New Economy jargon used in the executive search field, clients are still looking for two or three basic skills -- financial acumen, leadership effectiveness and general competence. Time and experience usually permit development of other required skills.
It goes without saying that developing good communications and interpersonal skills "Interpersonal skills" refers to mental and communicative algorithms applied during social communications and interactions in order to reach certain effects or results. The term "interpersonal skills" is used often in business contexts to refer to the measure of a person's ability simply takes time and effort -- there really is no magic formula. Still, developing those skills is essential, especially in public companies where the CFO is expected to interact with analysts and stockholders. Often, the CFO must accompany the CEO on conference calls with analysts and on road shows, where analysts want the financial details most logically addressed by the CFO. This requires the finance chief to not only be articulate on business and financial issues, but to have good presentation skills and to be quick on his or her feet.
In our GPO searches, financial expertise is essential, hut other functional experience is also appealing. Have you had exposure to technology, operations, sales and marketing, logistics/distribution or human resources? Do you have a diverse background when it comes to the industry you have chosen, be it financial services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. , manufacturing, consumer goods consumer goods
Any tangible commodity purchased by households to satisfy their wants and needs. Consumer goods may be durable or nondurable. Durable goods (e.g., autos, furniture, and appliances) have a significant life span, often defined as three years or more, and , life sciences or technology?
When you consider your range of knowledge and experience, imagine preparing yourself for the role of the general manager who has a hand in everything. For instance, if a finance officer is well-versed in the company's operations, that person is better prepared to recommend expansion or a capital outlay capital outlay
See capital expenditure. for new equipment. Similarly, an understanding of a company's human resources needs can help a CFO make both rational and humane decisions when it comes to rightsizing Selecting a computer system, whether micro, mini or mainframe, that best meets the needs of the application. the business and planning its future needs.
Another attractive quality for CFOs is having well-rounded experience in both line and staff experience -- to be fully integrated in the business. If a financial executive has line experience, his/her credibility as a CFO soars -- it is understood throughout the organization that he/she adds value beyond the finance function.
You may be asking: Where am I going to find the time to do all this prep work? Let's face it: If you spent all your hours making yourself more attractive for your next career move, your real job probably wouldn't get done.
In the end, the CEO's career management is truly a balancing act. Reach out. Don't exist in a silo. Broaden your skill set and your functional experience. And remember, your influence should permeate permeate /per·me·ate/ (-at?)
1. to penetrate or pass through, as through a filter.
2. the constituents of a solution or suspension that pass through a filter.
v. your entire organization -- from the day-to-day, to the strategic to the tactical. It's your job to make that happen.
William B. Reeves is managing director of Spencer Stuart's search practice in the Southeast U.S. and has recently been elected to Spencer Stuart's Worldwide Board of Directors.