Switching Industries More Common with Younger CFOs

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Traditionally, professionals would find an industry, gain experience, and begin a long, hard climb up the business ladder. But after the hard economic slog in recent years, this model of career growth is finished. The reality is that more and more CFOs, particularly younger ones, are switching industries instead of switching careers or simply moving to a new company.

In fact, companies are even more willing to look outside their industry as they hire new CFOs, pushing this trend even farther. Previously, companies would only look outside of their industry 23 percent of the time when hiring new financial talent, especially for an executive position. Now, however, companies branch outside of their industry over half of the time when recruiting new talent at any level.

The trend is gaining steam, as 75 percent of finance executives currently searching for a job say that they are looking for a new sector. While it isn’t surprising that many senior executives decided to jump ship after the difficulties of the recession, what’s startling is the fact that many want to transfer to a new sector altogether. Since you may not be able to get the position you want in the company you want in the location you want, it’s important to consider other industries, financial executives rationalize.

The Evolution of the Mobile CFO

This has created a more accepted practice where CFOs are more mobile and no longer tied to a specific industry. After all, finance skills are easily transferred, making the switch for a CFO to a new sector easier than any other senior officer. Finance is finance no matter which industry you serve. Rather, it’s the challenge of a specific job, not the industry’s nuances, which make the CFO position difficult.

Of course, this isn’t to say that testing new waters is easy. Rather, finance executives who want to grow in a new sector should proceed with caution, especially since accounting treatments vary from business to business regardless of industry. For instance, retail has different finance treatments than a manufacturing company.

Regardless, complexity is complexity and finance is finance no matter where you go. As long as CFOs can continue adapting to new technologies and standards, they can do the same with their career.