7 Steps to Climb to Become CFO
Guest Blog by Samuel Dergel- The CFO Expert
Just because you have the skills to be a solid Controller, this does not mean you have the right stuff to become a Great CFO....
but it doesn’t mean you can’t become a Great CFO.
To become a Great CFO, one needs to be able to move beyond the technical of accounting and finance. Having great Excel skills, being a GAAP Geek or being able to add 100 numbers in your head within 60 seconds is not what a CFO does. If a CFO needs to these things, there is a good chance a CFO will hire you. That might be why you were hired, but these skills will not get you the CFO job.
So what do you need to work on to become a CFO?
1) Management skills. A Great CFO is a Great Manager. He or she has the ability to manage a team of people to ensure that the detailed work gets done properly and on a timely basis. Work on your management skills if you hope to become a CFO one day.
2) Relationship building. A Great CFO needs to be able to develop relationships based on trust and mutual respect, both inside and outside the company. If you are the kind of person that needs to be in a closed office all day to be happy, give up on becoming the CFO. If you love speaking to people, walking around the company and visiting different locations, speaking with customers and suppliers, and look forward to going to networking events, you might have what it takes to become CFO.
3) Planning. Being CFO is more than just reacting and fighting fires. A CFO does these things well, but a Great CFO has the ability to plan to ensure that fires don’t start and that the company is managed pro-actively and helping company managers make profitable and informed business decisions.
4) Presence. A Great CFO has presence. When they walk into a room, they get noticed. They dress sharp, shake hands firmly and look people in the eye when they talk to them. If you don’t have presence, start building some.
5) Presents. Not the Birthday kind. A Great CFO needs to be able to present in front of a crowd of 1,000 or a meeting of one. Being able to communicate effectively is what separates a Controller from a CFO.
6) Negotiation skills. If you have never developed your negotiation skills, now is the time to do it. It’s more than just saying “no”. It is about being able to work towards a solution with parties that may not want the same thing that you do, but where everyone walks away a winner.
7) Get a Coach or a Mentor. Or both. It is hard to work towards a CFO role if you have no one helping you along. It is hard for a person to get constructive and impartial feedback – and you will need these things if you want to grow into a Great CFO.
Not everyone can become CFO. If you are motivated to become CFO and think you have what it takes, commit to improving in these areas. Your future CEO will be happy you did.
You can read more from Samuel Dergel on his blog or visit his website or LinkedIn profile
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