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5 Characteristics of a Good CFO

#1: A CFO should inspire confidence:

A Great CFO:

  • Has insight into what drives the numbers

  • Establishes and explains meaningful metrics that add value

  • Has an integrated and comprehensive understanding of the business

  • Interprets and sees opportunities in complexity and ambiguity

  • Navigates risk with prudence and courage

  • Thinks like an investor

Source: GAAP Executive Search

#2: The CFO should be an organization leader and key member of senior management, providing insight and analysis to support the President/CEO and other senior managers:

“A good CFO should be at the elbow of the CEO, ready to support and challenge him/her in leading the business. The CFO should, above all, be a good communicator – to the board on the performance of the business and the issues it is facing; to his/her peers in getting across key information and concepts to facilitate discussion and decision making; and to subordinates so that they are both efficient and motivated.”

- James Riley, Finance Director, Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd.

#3: The CFO should be an effective leader of the Finance and Accounting Function, leading key initiatives that support overall strategic goals:

“CFOs have experience rotating through multiple roles within the finance function, including controlling, treasury, audit, financial planning and analysis, or business unit finance. They tend to have intricate working knowledge of the company and are often experts in relevant finance and accounting issues. Many have advanced degrees.”

- McKinsey & Company

#4: The CFO should be professional and bring professional qualities to the role and the organization:

CFOs should bring professional qualities to their role and encourage ethical behavior and decision making throughout an organization. The CFO should be anchored by their fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence, and due care, confidentiality, and professional behavior.

Source: International Federation of Accountants

#5: The CFO should balance the responsibilities of stewardship with those of business partnership:

The partnership and stewardship roles should have a dynamic, complementary relationship.

Source: International Federation of Accountants

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