The CFO'S Perspective

How does Uncertainty affect a CFO’s Role?

It is being mentioned on the news, among coworkers in team chats, and over dinner with family day after day. It is keeping Americans (especially business leaders) up at night. In fact, every client meeting we have these days has some discussion around it. What is it? Uncertainty.

Today’s culture is wrought with uncertainty that is absolutely sweeping through every industry. Rising inflation, COVID surges, interest rate hikes, a dramatic increase in the cost of living, the war in Ukraine, and a potential recession all have business leadership mired in a constant state of uncertainty. From professional services and hospitality to tech and manufacturing, uncertainty is taking a toll. And unfortunately, it does not show any signs of dissipating any time soon.

In response, many organizations have begun leaning even more heavily on their CEOs and CFOs to guide them through these tumultuous waters. Consumption patterns have changed, new buying trends have emerged, and supply chains have become murky, reducing confidence levels in business forecasts. And amid it all, CFOs are being asked to manage cash flow, oversee new business priorities, and aid in constantly shifting strategic planning initiatives.

Topics: CFO Planning Leadership CFO Responsibilities Change Management

Why Tech Skills are Essential for Today’s CFOs

Today’s top CFOs are vastly different than their predecessors because the CFO role itself has changed so dramatically over the last few decades. What used to be a strictly numbers-based executive financial role, has now evolved into a pivotal leadership position that touches numerous areas of the company including HR, IT, operations, manufacturing, sales, and marketing. And this sweeping change has ushered in a shift in what is expected of a CFO’s skillset as well.

The most salient difference is how today’s CFOs are required to utilize technology. CFOs are expected to be well versed in technology options for streamlining operations, meeting business needs, informing strategic decision making, and maximizing growth. As a result, tech proficiency has become the single most newly sought after skill when hiring a new CFO.

Topics: Recruiting Trends CFO Hiring CFO Responsibilities

How a CFO Provides Decision Support

A large part of any Chief Financial Officer (CFO) role is strategic decision support, whether those decisions are related to staffing, pricing, selling, manufacturing, or any other area of the business. A CFO’s forward-looking point of view combined with their financial acumen makes them ideally suited to provide actionable information to their CEOs and other corporate decision makers and integral to the success of the organization.

Leaning on a CFO for strategic decision making support offers the following benefits:

Topics: CFO Planning Leadership CFO Responsibilities Strategy

The Top 6 Challenges Faced by CFOs Today – Part 2

Last week we shared the first article in our two-part series on today’s top challenges for CFOs. That article discussed the pressure that inflation has put on companies nationwide as well as the problems with expense reduction strategies and the added complexities of usage-based pricing models.

If you missed it, you can find it here: The Top 6 Challenges Faced by CFOs Today

Today we will jump right in with the last three challenges for CFOs:

Topics: CFO Leadership CFO Responsibilities

The Top 6 Challenges Faced by CFOs Today – Part 1

The pressure on CFOs today is more intense than ever before. Their roles have become increasingly complex amid an uncertain financial landscape, resulting in the kind of financial challenges that CFOs 10 years ago could never have imagined they would be facing today.

Rapidly changing consumer and business purchasing habits have caused demand to fluctuate wildly, nullifying forecasts and ongoing financial projections. At the same time, rising costs on raw materials, packaging, and transportation have cut deeply into the profit margins that CFOs are tasked with managing. And soaring inflation has only exacerbated the challenge of rising costs across all industries.

Topics: CFO Leadership CFO Responsibilities Personal Development

Is My CFO Underperforming?

As executive financial recruiters we work with companies every day who have lost their CFO for a variety of reasons. The CFO may have left to pursue a better opportunity, retired, or made a career change. And in some instances, the CFO may have been shown the door due to subpar performance.

In all honesty, the latter scenario is the least common. Most organizations are hesitant to let their CFO go because of the inherent doubt in the process of doing so. First, there is the big question of how to determine whether your CFO is making the grade. (You certainly do not want to let your CFO go if you cannot be certain that someone else will be able to do the job better!) And, secondly, there is the daunting prospect of needing to find a replacement that is going to be better performer.

But just because it is not very common in practice does not mean it should be. Companies, especially those with owners and CEOs that do not have strong financial acumen themselves, do not typically evaluate their financial leadership as thoroughly as they should. Unfortunately, if your CFO is underperforming, not identifying this in a timely manner or not doing anything about it, can be extremely costly. When your financial leadership is falling short of expectations, strategic planning can fail, affecting revenue and profitability.

Topics: CFO Analysis Leadership Growth CFO Responsibilities Assessment Strategy

4.5 Presentation Tips for CFOs – Delivering Excellence

As a CFO you live in the numbers. And like Neo in The Matrix, who can see falling green lines of computer code and read them to construct a picture of the world around him, they make sense to you.

However, when you sit down to present to your CEO, COO, CTO, CRO, CMO, or any other c-suite executive, you need to understand that they may not have the same affinity for numbers that you do. This is especially true when the executive leaders you are presenting to are less financially savvy or new to their roles or the industry.

When “non-numbers-people” see numbers, typically all they take away from it is the numbers themselves. However, when “numbers-people” see numbers, they see the whole picture – the story that the numbers are telling, how the metrics are related, and how they fit into the larger framework.

Knowing how to present to your audience is key in bridging the gap to move the business forward.

Topics: Financial Reports CFO Responsibilities

How Can a CFO Improve Your Hiring Strategy?

Knowing when to hire employees and how much to pay them can make or break a hiring strategy. However, this is not the entire picture. Benefits are just as important to your strategic hiring plan. In light of the growing number of people leaving their jobs in recent months, which has been dubbed The Great Resignation, understanding this concept has never been more important than it is these days.

Topics: Recruiting Planning CFO Responsibilities