The days of identifying a new CFO who is only responsible for an organization’s financial operations, risk management, and regulatory compliance are over. Today, a key role for a company’s next CFO will include their ability to be a true business partner who can play an increasingly strategic role that drives business decisions and prepares a business for future growth.
Top CFO candidates need to work across a variety of functions, including human resources, customers service, sales, and marketing, and building relationships that enable collaboration in each division. One of the most important partnerships is between the CFO and the Chief Information Officer, given the critical role that technology is playing in today’s technology-driven focus.
From our deep experience as strategic search consultants working at the top levels of organizations, we’ve identified four essential attributes to consider as you look to identify top CFO candidates.
What to Consider When Identifing Your Next CFO:
- Has the candidate had success in developing a CFO-CIO strategy that drives revenue growth, profits, and efficiency? Can the CFO analyze shareholder value and identify IT investments that will result in added value?
- How closely can the CFO candidate work with your CIO? Does she or he know the language of the information technology team and what its key role is in the organization? Can the candidate deliver real-time analysis that will help the CIO make the best decisions, or is that a learning curve that they will have to climb?
- Does the candidate have experience in recognizing the value of real-time financial data, and can she or he deliver insights from that data and provide real value to the business and to the CIO? What case examples can they provide where they’ve gotten involved in the IT strategy and added value by helping to manage costs and profitability?
- Does the candidate appreciate the differences and similarities of the roles of the CFO and CIO? Does she or he display a clear understanding of the CIO’s critical importance to the company’s growth? Does the candidate recognize that both need to work closely together to both ensure that business operations are running smoothly and to shape the strategy for growth and performance?
The best CFO candidates will understand that they must occupy a position at the intersection of strategy, technology, and financial management. Technology that drives innovation and digital transformation is critically linked to business performance. In the end, the successful CFO candidate will excel at building business partnerships across the organization and between key functional areas. None may be more important than IT.