When an accountant first starts their career, they often dream of achieving the title of chief financial officer. It’s a tough climb, but once you get the title, most people consider you to be at the pinnacle of your career. You have tons of career choices at this point, and companies will do their best to try to entice you to work for them.
Most people have no clue how to start the climb towards CFO, and if you want to get there, you’ll need specific traits and abilities to do your job effectively. If you want to become a CFO, you need to be able to do the following:
Understand Your Company’s Mission
When you’re a CFO, you partner with your company’s CEO, so you need to understand what type of things are important to your shareholders. Concentrate on increasing shareholder value, and work on incorporating this value into your company’s mission. A CFO influences how their company works, so it makes sense for you to learn the business inside and out.
As a CFO, you’re going to have to learn how to be risk averse when it comes to your company’s money. It’s your job to create a company-wide system that cuts risk and increases productivity. According to Robert Bratt on Facebook, this is like playing a game of chess; you need to think of how every single change will impact your company in the future, and you need to create safeguards that prevent the company from losing money. Basically, you have to plan for different scenarios that can play out in the future, and you need to have a plan for all of them.
As a CFO, it’s going to be up to you to communicate how your company is doing financially; you’ll be reporting to both employees and external regulatory agencies. This information will be used to gauge how the company is doing, so you’ll need to make sure that it is as accurate as possible. The information can also be used to spot trends and help management make decisions about the future.
You Must Be Well-Rounded
A CFO needs to be skilled in many areas. Being able to crunch numbers is a plus, but you also need to be able to make decisions in other areas of the business. You’ll need to spend time with operators and employees to get a good sense of the business, and you’ll need to use the knowledge that you gain from them in your future decisions. You can’t run a company simply by looking at its numbers; you need to be a well-rounded person who can take external factors into consideration.
When you reach the position of CFO, you’re near the top of your career. If you’re planning on it for your future, you need to work on your management, people and accounting skills. Once you have these skills polished, you can work your way up the corporate ladder to the position of CFO.