If you are an aspiring Group CFO, then you need to be prepared for future changes in your industry. Here are nine ways you can make sure that you’re prepared:
1 – Increase your financial experience
If you’re a CFO, then you need to be versatile. Finance is a varied aspect of business, from the ‘tiny’ world of small budgets, to managing immense financial frameworks. You need to gain exposure to all levels of finance, instead of simply working on your company’s purchase ledgers.
2 – Expose yourself to the markets
As a CFO, it is increasingly likely that you will come to be regarded as a face of your company. This will allow you to build a number of favourable relationships with banks, investors, regulators, analysts and the media.
3 – Develop your leadership skills
You might be able to manage figures very well, but how good are you at managing people? You will need to be, as you will not be able to manage everything yourself, particularly in areas where perhaps you have no direct experience, such as IT or marketing. Running a diverse team is crucial to successful financial management.
4 – Balance non-traditional skills with traditional ones
You need to gain experience beyond budgets and balance sheets. Of course you need to become an expert in dealing with the traditional basics of finance, but you also need to expand your experience beyond the numbers. Try to gain experience by helping lead major projects, or by building supplier relationships.
5 – Gain an insight into commerce
Finance is largely concerned with figures, but commerce works on a different level entirely. You cannot spend your entire day locked in your finance office without ever poking your head out of the door. You need to gain a deeper understanding of how commerce works.
6 – Establish relationships with the board
All your stakeholders as a CFO are important, but perhaps none are as important as the relationships you have with your board members. Attune yourself to boardroom dynamics and make the effort to build successful relationships with your key stakeholders.
7 – Expose yourself to international markets
Local economies are still important, but the effects of the global economy are felt more keenly now than ever. To understand the local picture, you need to understand the broader picture as well. If you want to be a successful CFO, then you will need an understanding of global financial markets.
8 – Gain M&A experience
To gain experience of how deals are conducted, a CFO will gain valuable, end-to-end insight by undertaking involvement in M&A (mergers and acquisitions) projects. This will include due diligence, functional assessments and the full integration.
9 – Learn about finance transformation initiatives
Such initiatives have a massively beneficial aspect, as they have long-term impacts on the way in which new talent is educated in the world of finance. Companies too readily use outsourcing to cope with their transactional processes, and that leads to a lack of core abilities within a firm’s financial team. CFOs need to understand how finance works from the ground up.