Published on January 17th, 2023 | by Bibhuranjan


What To Look For When Hiring Your Next CFO

Hiring a CFO is a pivotal decision for a company’s financial health. The hiring process can be taxing. Knowing what options are there to fill the role, when to outsource, how to identify the most suitable candidate, and what to expect after hiring can be pretty complicated.

While a CFO primarily oversees the company’s financial processes, they require more than just accounting skills.

Every candidate looks good, but what are the prime considerations before taking on an outsourced CFO? An ideal CFO should have a cocktail of the following skill sets:

Inclusive Leadership Skills

A CFO holds the highest corporate position in corporate finance. They are, therefore, responsible for leading, managing, and building the finance team on the path to realizing the company’s long- and short-term financial goals.

As a leader, a great CFO should be able to create meaningful relationships with the team. It’s vital that the CFO can develop, cultivate, and even maintain an inclusive culture that empowers the employees to unlock their potential and deliver fully. An excellent hire for CFO must be a good executive leader with a strategic mindset and a high level of resilience

Wide Range in Financial Knowledge

Naturally, a qualified CFO should possess an excellent grip on financial concepts, and most potential candidates for this hiring position will. However, a candidate who understands other business areas, such as accounting, risk management, and investment, will be an asset to any company.

Some of the best finance leaders often come from these backgrounds, accompanied by professional certifications such as CPAs or a master’s degree in finance. A good hire will understand not only finance but also the nitty-gritty of a company’s industry.

Exceptional Communication Skills

Communication skills are vital leadership skills for any position in a company. However, for a CFO, possessing exceptional communication skills will come in handy in many ways. CFOs, especially for small businesses, may need to publish and even report on the particulars of the financial reports to company stakeholders.

As a senior finance executive, a company CFO may be required to represent your business on panels and industry forums. The CFO may also be required to answer shareholder questions during annual general meetings and interviews.

Communications skills should also extend to digital communication. In today’s tech climate, a good CFO should be comfortable leading their teams from home and open to remote work.

Swift Problem-Solving Skills

Businesses in a high-growth phase may experience new challenges at each step. For instance, a company may face a cash crunch and require the expertise of its CFO to manage its cash flow and plummet it back to safety.

A good CFO will coordinate with the COO and ensure that a lack of cash won’t result in halted operations.

On the other hand, CFOs in larger enterprises will have different challenges to tackle. Mature companies with excess disposable income need the CFO’s insight on the move that will make financial sense, such as whether a buyback is advisable and its impact on the balance sheet.

A CFO will face multiple challenges, both internally and externally. A good CFO hire should be able to demonstrate rapid decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Commendable Strategic Skills

One primary duty of a CFO is to improve a business’s financial health with time. While the CFO is not always directly hands-on with forecasting and budgeting, they must guide all these processes in line with a company’s goals.

Apart from the internal financial data, a great CFO must have the strategic ability to use big chunks of data and industry knowledge in their financial planning process. A great CFO should be able to analyze metrics like business profitability, ROI, and external factors that will help identify trends and establish benchmarks.

Resilient and Pragmatic

CFOs often must do more with less; this will require creativity and an even greater ability to determine realistic paths. A great CFO should have extraordinary collaborative skills to implement these strategies. They should be approachable and able to set the tone for the finance departments even in adverse times.

A CFO’s position has always been a challenging one. A good CFO should be confident in their work and have the stamina and resilience to handle new challenges. The goal is to bring another strategic partner to the C-suite, ready to push beyond traditional roles.

Closing Thoughts

When a CFO is a perfect match for a company, a certain ease and comfort level quickly spread among the individual and the rest of the organization. The CFO almost immediately builds a rapport.

An unsuitable hire is an expensive cost for an organization of any size. However, a keen hiring process with all factors considered, including their abilities and your company’s needs, will likely lead you to the perfect candidate.

Organizations also shouldn’t shy away from outsourcing a hiring or recruiting agency to conduct a short-listing. The goal is to bring another strategic partner to the C-suite, ready to push beyond traditional roles.

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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