It’s a good time again to be a chief financial officer. With the rebounding economy, more and more organizations are willing to take risks and pursue new avenues for growth. With private and public companies alike showing revenue growth in recent quarters, CFOs have more freedom to take financial risks and utilize their organizational influence. As CFOs continue increasing the importance of their role, it’s vital to understand the habits that make a CFO successful in the workplace.
- Keeping employees happy.
Traditionally, there’s been tension between the human resources department and any CFO. While HR is focused on the quality of work-life for all employees, CFOs are focused on cutting costs and improving the bottom line. Because benefits cost money, CFOs are notorious for being one of the primary challenges that any HR department will face.
However, CFOs must also remember that they’re only as strong as their accounting and finance team. Remember, if you treat your employees as though they can make a difference in your organization, then they will make a difference. From Publix to Mars, companies that have focused on their employees just as much (if not more) than their customers saw a substantial increase in productivity.
- Understanding the big picture
Though today’s economy is ripe for investments and taking risks, CFOs must also remember the long-term picture. By working both the short and long-term, CFOs are able to maximize profits while minimizing risks. Companies such as Cargill and Evernote are as successful as they are today because of their willingness to invest in high-risk endeavors that may not pay off for many years to come. Likewise, a CFO must always consider what’s best for the long-term success of the organization, even if it costs something up front.
- The ability to adapt.
Today’s economic marketplace is more volatile than ever before. Furthermore, social change and shifting demographics have altered today’s workplace and will continue to do so. The best CFO isn’t one who only continues refining his or financial skills, but is also able to adapt to the changing culture that defines workplace culture and practices. Complacency is not an option.