5 Habits Every CFO Should Have
The role of the CFO is changing; what was once seen as solely a number-crunching position is now considered one of the main drivers of innovation in a company. Being a CFO requires close attention to detail and serious skill in analytics, but what other traits should a good CFO have?
Be Forward Thinking
A good CFO always looks ahead to the future. While an understanding of the past is critical, the ability to impact where a company is headed is even more important; it requires taking calculated risks, as well as running projections to know the best and worst case scenarios that can come with any business decision. It also means cultivating a close relationship with the CEO and any important stakeholders. In a successful company, the CFO and CEO work together to improve the future of the business.
Communicate Early And Often
A CFO communicates with several types of people on a daily basis: the CEO, the CIO, and individual management. Candid and frequent communication is a habit every CFO should practice. A CFO must also have the ability to communicate in different styles with different levels of management. Here are a couple things to consider when it comes to communication:
- Avoid offering too much information, especially when addressing the public or stakeholders. Keep your speech clear and user-friendly.
- Be confident, even if you don’t feel it. Particularly when speaking with individualized managers, don’t let your frustration or trepidation regarding a business practice show.
Surround Yourself With Other Effective People
The first part of this habit involves “knowing what you don’t know.” In other words, be aware of your weaknesses and choose members of your team that excel in ways you don’t. Consider the adage “hire people smarter than yourself,” and try to emulate it. When you surround yourself with competent, sharp professionals, you’ll find they fill in the gaps of your knowledge base and create an effectively run finance department.
Create A Positive Impact On Company Culture
More and more, CFOs are becoming individuals employees look to for guidance and innovation, so you should set the tone accordingly. Here are a couple of ways you can help achieve a positive company culture:
- Encourage openness. When you project a warm and confident air, you inspire others to do the same.
- Lead by example. Know the company vision, and strive to live by it on and off the clock.
Don’t fall into the trap of becoming set in your ways. When you do a job well, you may find that certain strategies work time and again. However, you need to be flexible and ready to adapt when an initiative does not go as expected.
Remember that companies fail every day because of their inability to take risks or change course. Could a creative, adaptable CFO have come up with better solutions to keep them in business?
What habits do you think are essential for an effective CFO? Let us know what you’ve learned in your own experiences.
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