Understanding Job Security for CFOs

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While worrying about job security isn’t something we typically associate with the senior executives of a company, the reality is that more CFOs have to deal with the insecurities of job security, especially in today’s economic climate. A new report from Korn/Ferry International shows that CFOs aren’t as secure in their positions as they once were. In fact, within a year of a CEO joining the company, approximately a fourth of CFOs will have been replaced. Within two years, that figure climbs to over a third.

The study shows that new bosses generally like to clean house and start with a new slate. Fortunately, though, there are many strategies CFOs can incorporate to become a powerful asset to new CEOs, thereby boosting their own job security and benefiting the company.

How can finance executives accomplish this?

  1. Become your boss’s mentor. Despite their power and position, CEOs aren’t invincible. It’s impossible for them to walk into an organization and suddenly know everything about it. By becoming a type of mentor as the new CEO begins, finance executives can become a credible counterpart to the new boss, adding value by pointing out blind spots, giving insights, and guiding CEOs through their insensitivities.
  2. Become a collaborator in growth. It’s normal to find a wide leadership infrastructure gap in growing companies, especially after the hiring of a new CEO. Finance officers can bridge that gap and allow the firm to scale as it grows. By spending more time building the leadership infrastructure while performing your accounting responsibilities, you become a critical member of your boss’s team.
  3. Become competitive. When we’ve been with a company for any period of time, it’s natural to become complacent with our position. Growth and learning suddenly slow – or in some cases completely halt. When a new executive takes the reins, consider this a new jolt of life into the company. CFOs should become competitive with themselves, continuing to grow their career as though they’re a young professional seeking to establish a foothold in a company. This mindset removes the air of complacency and makes you more valuable to the team.