Plan Your Path to the CFO Office
Design a path that offers you the diverse skill set that the Chief Financial Role role requires. According to recent surveys, most CFOs started their career paths in business development and human resources, followed by technology. Very few executives jump directly into the CFO office. In fact, most CFOs report that they earned an average of nearly ten years of accounting and finance experience before making their way into the CFO office.
Decide if the CFO Office is Right for You
With leadership comes responsibility. Determine if achieving these are among your aspirations and skills:
- Managing financial risk as well as planning and ongoing accounting systems.
- Analyzing the sector’s financial trends.
- Negotiating and overseeing the finances of acquisitions, mergers, and business salvages.
- Fulfilling the dual role of Chief Executive Officer and CFO in smaller companies.
- Dedicating yourself to 10-15 years of progressive, diverse experience to get to the CFO office.
Get on the CFO Path by Taking These Steps
Because the route to becoming a CFO is diverse, select where to begin and go from there.
- Be intentional with your planning.
- Stay up-to-date with CFO skill trends, paying particular attention to projected needs.
- Scan for positions in organizations that offer you needed skills and growth opportunities.
- Prepare yourself and those in your life for ongoing change, including continued education.
Develop CFO Knowledge and Skills
Assure you have a broad base of financial experience.
- This may include working in non-profit as well as profit-based settings.
- Be secure with financial fundamentals and accounting principles.
- Gain digital knowledge to keep pace with cloud-based information, big data analytics benefits and functions, and cybersecurity needs.
Advancement, Continued Learning, and Certification
- The CFO role requires advanced education, such as holding a master’s in business administration (MBA).
- Position yourself for advanced positions, including that of accounting manager, controller, or managing treasury functions.
- Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as almost half of CFOs hold one.
Broaden Your Customer Service Awareness
- Review customer service trends in your current organization.
- Consider these in terms of financial implications and determine methods for improvement.
- Learn about the CFO’s role in assuring quality customer service.
- Develop solid soft skills to work well with customers and colleagues.
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