Being a CFO requires a great deal of intelligence, professionalism, and aptitude for analyzing data, as well as a penchant for taking calculated and informed risks. It’s not an easy position to hold. Over the years, the CFO position has also been increasingly required individuals to do more than make financial strategy decisions for corporations. CFOs now work as advisors to CEOs and other management, lead their own projects, provide advice to board members, and much more. It can be easy to make mistakes or have trouble managing the immense amount of work that CFOs are expected to complete. Being at the top of your game is important as a CFO, but it doesn’t always happen.
Cindy Kraft, a CFO Coach has written an advice article on the Association for Financial Professionals page, titled “The Five Worst Things You Can Do.” The following are five mistakes a CFO doesn’t want to do, especially in today’s uncertain economy.
1. Become Overconfident
It’s important to not let the power and influence of the CFO position interact with important decision making. Always be aware of risks and possible outcomes of every endeavor to prevent catastrophe from striking.
2. Become Unemployed
In terms of managing a career as a CFO, becoming unemployed, and staying unemployed should be avoided as much as possible. When a CFO is unemployed, they lose bargaining power with new employees by virtue of their condition. Try to ensure that employment is maintained as much as possible, even if it requires switching jobs.
3. Undervalue Networking
One of the most important aspects of a CFO is convincing others of beneficial financial decisions. Networking and interpersonal skills are vital to success in those regards. Never consider yourself “too busy to network.” Knowing the right people goes very far in today’s economy.
4. Become Invisible
Don’t think you can sit back and work behind the scenes. As CFOs become more versatile and beneficial to corporations, they will need to be in the limelight more often, or at least be more open in management circles. At the minimum, make sure you have a solid presence on LinkedIn, and contribute to respectable blogs with your opinions.
5. Post Your Resume
Be calculated about reaching out for a new position at a company. Given the pay and responsibilities of upper-level management, it’s vital to not give up any “passive positioning” as Kraft writes. If companies know you are looking to transfer quickly, they will hold bargaining power over you. Plan well in advanced – upwards of a year – if you want to make a move to a new employer, and start networking and learning as quickly as you can.
What do you think about these lessons for CFOs? What would you add to the list?