Do This, Don’t Do That: Tips for CFOs

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All CFOs know that it takes more than a sense of numbers, CPA experience, and controller knowledge to become CFO. Sure, there’s an element of luck involved, but we’ve noticed that “luck” tends to increase with skill and acumen. Whether you are currently holding the CFO position or looking to rise to the top, here are some proven tips from seasoned professionals on how to get the job done right – and increase your “luck” in the process.Two Dos

Develop strong relationship skills. A good CFO doesn’t just know numbers – he or she has a good working relationship with the CEO and others within the organization. It’s also important to develop strong external relationships, as well, with individuals such as bankers, peers in other companies, and professional organizations. Many times, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Think strategy. C-level executives aren’t just known for their ability to keep tabs on the money – they’re dynamic, innovative professionals with a mind for strategy. You can’t just limit focus to the bottom line and taxes; rather, strive to be constantly innovating ways to do things better. In short, don’t just count the beans – grow them.

Two Don’ts

It’s not all about the bottom line. It’s within the wheelhouse of many CFOs to be penny wise and pound foolish. Don’t just look for ways to cut costs; many times this will end up lowering overall productivity or morale, which is the definition of a Pyrrhic victory. Use those relationship skills and keep a pulse on what’s really going on in your company.

Don’t stop learning. Whether you’ve been in the business for 5 years or 45 years, with the rate at which technology is advancing, it’s vital to stay on top of the curve. Particularly if you really do want to cut costs while maintaining productivity – understanding technology is more important than ever!

Becoming a powerhouse CFO is much more than just simple accounting. You need to cultivate a cutting-edge, strategic mind, many powerful and reliable connections and networks, and understand the difference between increasing productivity and just saving pennies. If you add these traits up, you are sure to find success.