The CFO'S Perspective

Difficult Conversations at Work (and in Relationships)

As a finance team professional with years of experience navigating office politics, human relationships and life in general, I have the need to successfully complete difficult conversations every day. It is a skill that one acquires over time, especially after learning that it’s better to face problems head on.

It's easy to avoid the problems, bury your head in the sand, or pretend things are peachy, especially at work or in a new relationship. Avoidance only makes it worse for you and everyone around you - but mainly for you. When you go along because you're afraid of making it worse, you will slowly resent it and may leave your job or relationship because of it.

What if, instead, you faced these problems head-on, resulting in more positive working relationships and maybe even happier clients?

Topics: Leadership Personal Development Company Culture

Today’s Top Nonprofit Leadership Challenges

Nonprofit organizations are champions of challenge. They are inherently designed to recognize, address, and overcome challenges of all kinds. And while there has been a tremendous amount of buzz over the last two years about the kinds of social and political challenges that nonprofits across the country have been taking aim at, very few people have talked about the kinds of fundamental organizational challenges that are keeping nonprofit leaders up at night. These kinds of challenges are not newsworthy or exciting, because despite everything else that has changed in this post-pandemic society we are living in, these challenges have remained the same.

Yes, today’s top nonprofit leadership challenges are yesterday’s challenges continued. Every organization regardless of size, location, or focus area has the same core hurdles that their leadership team needs to address. And how leadership handles these challenges can make the difference between whether an organization thrives or closes its doors.

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Leadership

Years of Lessons Learned as a Business Partner

It's hard to believe 20 years has gone by since CFO Selections was founded! It has been 16 years since merging a small search practice with CFO Selections. Time has gone by so quickly! It has been gratifying to make great friendships within the community, including my partners, consultants, clients, and fantastic trusted advisor community. To this day, I still get a thrill reading the business section of various publications and finding a company mentioned we assisted at some point in their growth.

Today I am sharing lessons learned as both a partner of CFO Selections as well as in the business development role. These are the keys to success I encourage all business owners and entrepreneurs to leverage on their business journey.

Topics: Leadership Personal Development About Us Company Culture

PODCAST: Mastering Your Financial Acumen as a Nonprofit Leader (Kevin Briscoe)

Is your organization positioned to navigate the unique strategic and financial challenges inherent in nonprofit settings? As a nonprofit leader, do you need more financial expertise but don’t know if you can afford it?

Topics: Non Profit Organizations Leadership

Is On-Site Necessary Anymore? Examining Today’s Most Effective Workforce Structure

When talking with colleagues these days it is common to hear people discussing the effectiveness of remote work, especially regarding consulting work. We hear partners and clients saying things like, “I just don’t think we can replicate the kind of interpersonal relationships we used to have virtually.” Yet, at the same time, we hear their employees expressing little desire ever to return to the office full-time, opting instead for fully remote or hybrid work arrangements. This dichotomy begs the question, “Which is better, in-person or remote?”

Topics: Trends Planning Leadership Company Culture

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

How Do I Let Go of an Underperforming CFO?

According to CFO.com the most common reasons for a CFO change are:

  1. As a follow-up move to a CEO change
  2. A voluntary decision to pursue a better opportunity
  3. To get the right personnel in place to take a growing company to the next level

The article goes on to say, “Finding out precisely how many finance leaders have been asked to take a hike in the wake of accounting fiascoes, earnings disappointments, failed mergers, or unsound investment decisions is trickier, since most of them are effectively silenced by generous severance packages.” While this article speaks directly to publicly traded companies, the same rationale holds true for private companies. We know that firing a CFO for performance-related reasons is by no means the most common reason for separating. However, it is difficult to pinpoint the percentage of companies that have let their CFO go due to underperformance because neither party is going to readily admit that was the reason for dismissal. However, it certainly happens. And when it does, the process poses a uniquely difficult scenario.

Firing an executive of any sort is a daunting task, but letting your CFO go provides an added host of challenges. Since companies task their CFO with the financial management of the company a CFO may possess critical financial knowledge and planning information that can be lost when they are terminated.

Topics: CFO Staffing HR Leadership Change Management Interim CFO Transition

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