The CFO'S Perspective

Alex de Soto

Alex de Soto

Alex de Soto anchors the CFO Selections search practice. He brings over 25 years of experience in accounting, finance, human resources, and executive search to his role as leader of the search team. Since 2008, he has spent most of his time helping CEO’s and CFO’s of Pacific Northwest based companies find that unique match they seek for a CFO or Controller.

Recent Posts by Alex de Soto:

Do I Have the Right CFO at This Point in Time?

A vital part of a business’s success is the strength of its management team.  This is always true, in good times, and during a crisis.  A successful business needs all oars of the boat pulling together at the same time.  And the boat needs to be headed in the right direction.

The current economic crisis is highlighting the importance of strong financial leadership.  That is undoubtedly true, given the flurry of new government aid programs and the impact of stay at home orders.  But a business owner always needs strong financial leadership.  In a healthy economy, the owner needs to make sure they are operating at maximum efficiency to take advantage of likely higher gross margin opportunities, or to make sure an investment in a new product or service has long term value.

This article points out a few areas to consider in determining if you currently have the “right CFO” and a pointer on “buyer beware” if you are considering making a change in CFO during a time of high unemployment.

Topics: Recruiting CFO Hiring Transition

Too Few or Too Many CFOs?

As the leader of our executive search practice, the most common question I get asked is, “What is the market like for CFOs?” 

My reply has generally been, “Well, in the Pacific Northwest there is an oversupply of experienced CFOs but not enough ‘up and comer’ CFOs”. 

I also mention: “It will cost you a lot more to get an inexperienced CFO than it did in the past.” 

Why do I say this?  It is all about demographics and supply and demand.

Topics: Recruiting Search Services Hiring HR

How Does Your CFO Spend Their Day?

 

Ever wonder why your CFO spends more time in their office than anywhere else? Or maybe you have a CFO who is always out meeting with people outside your business when you are trying to talk with them about an issue? Do you have a Controller who feels ignored by your CFO?  Do you have a CFO who is great at talking about the needs of your business, but can’t seem to answer a detailed question about the financial statements?

In my years as a CPA/auditor, an employee within companies in finance management roles, and as a recruiter focusing on senior finance positions, it is very apparent one can put a CFO in three categories.

Of course, not everyone is a single variety grape wine, most people are a blend, but I have found these three categories quickly summarize the most common types of CFO in the eyes of the CEO and others in an organization. 

The question as a CEO or business owner is, do you have the right type for your organization?

Topics: Recruiting CFO Hiring Staffing

DEAR EDITOR: I am a CEO

The holidays are here. Letters are pouring in to Santa and to our editor. Here is one such letter and the editor's response.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am a CEO.
  Some of my friends say there are no good CFO’s.
  Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
  Please tell me the truth; are there any good CFO’s?”
 ----- From Virginia, CEO

Topics: CFO

Solutions for Issues and Concerns When Conducting a Confidential Search for a CFO

A changing of the guard in a company's top position is a dramatic change for any business, but getting a new CFO is a close second. As with any executive transition, there may be several reasons for the shift. You may be a small company that has just now decided it's time for a CFO, have an executive who is nearing retirement, or has a legitimate issue that prompts the need for a change.

No one likes uncertainty, so it's best to approach a CFO change with as much caution as possible. There are some telling signs that it's time to launch an executive CFO search, as well as advantages and disadvantages to conducting a confidential search for a CFO. Your company may want to consider an interim position, as well as enlisting the help of a financial consultant during this process.

Topics: Recruiting Search Services CFO HR