Business scenario is changing rapidly. It is becoming more and more complex and global. About two decades ago, skills required for CFO largely were accounting, financial reporting, control, compliance and banking. Today, for being a successful CFO you need much more than that. Now business requires them to be a business enabler who can play strategic role along with CEO to grow the business and create value for all the stakeholders.
Besides above basic skills, some of the traits of successful CFOs are:
- Understanding of business, customers, competition, and global market
- Strategic thinking and ability to see larger picture in decision making process
- Deal making capability to help business grow inorganically thru merger and acquisitions which is largely led by CFOs
- Understanding of risk matrix and ability to insulate business from them. These risks are reputational, business, environmental, and regulatory. You need to create risk tolerance level so that business does not take too much risk
- Good communication and presentation skills that will enable you to present yourself and your company better to the outside world, like investors, bankers, analysts, media, etc.
- Good leadership skills so that you are able to motivate people in the organization to achieve its goal
- Conflict management. CFOs are invariably seen as neutral person in the organization and hence they are well placed to resolve any inter-personal conflicts
- Understanding of technology and new trends impacting your business
- Skills to deal with regulatory bodies across the world where you have your business
- Cross border taxation that helps to create compliant and most tax efficient structure for your global business
- Understanding of culture and people sensitivities to help formulate and customize various policies
- Use of analytics to help taking decisions based on facts and figures
- Be a good listener, willing to ask uncomfortable questions and take stand without being arrogant
- Strong on ethics and governance so that you can gain trust of all stakeholders
- Keep your knowledge up to date and continuously looking for improvement
You should know that “Good CFOs are those who don’t get their companies or themselves into trouble and those who can get their companies out of trouble as CFO”.
Author: C M Sharma