5 tips for today's CFO

Group of employees in an informal meeting room

It goes without saying that a CFO must have outstanding finance skills and the ability to make smart and strategic decisions. But in today’s fast paced environment the role of a CFO has become extremely variable. Leadership, interpersonal and communication skills are also important in such a high level position.

In order to succeed, the CFO of the future will need to branch out from the traditional well-known financial skillsets and acquire new skills which have become crucial to the CFO function.

Here are 5 key tips and skills to keep in mind to overcome the challenges CFOs are facing in today's ever changing environment:

1. Be a team leader

Mentoring, coaching and talent spotting are all attributes outside the traditional skillset of the finance chief which are proving to be more and more important. The role of the CFO (Coach Financial Officer) is to bring together a diverse group of professionals to achieve superior performance. A successful coach will produce superior results by finding the strengths of their team members and obtaining a higher level of performance than the individuals might achieve on their own.

2. Be a soft skills’ advocate

"Leadership, communication, and skills are absolutely crucial to the future of the CFO function, says Antoine Biot, Director of Robert Walters Belgium

It takes much more than analysing the numbers behind transactions. Finance professionals are now expected to have qualities needed to be strategic advisors. This means stakeholder management, efficiency and control, overall strategy improvements to engagement with staff members and effective communication skills.

3. Engage by seeking input from all levels

Understand operations and customers by asking employees across the entire organisation questions and involving them in key processes. Making employee involvement a priority when developing the overall strategy will ensure the company’s goals are aligned with those of stakeholders.

4. Be open to new ideas

Collaboration, innovation and open mindedness are key attributes promoting the creation of new ideas leading to success. Today’s ever changing business environment requires CFOs to adopt an informed and forward thinking approach to decision making. By adopting continual learning processes and looking out for latest insights, you will be able to embrace change in a proactive way. 

5. Be a team player

The CFO plays a critical role in shaping a company’s strategy. Shift the way you view yourself from being self-centric to becoming more altruistic. Making other team members feel important will encourage positive perceptions within the organisation. 

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