4 ways to ensure CFO productivity

Paul Dennis, Senior Director at The Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB), has said that CFOs at larger companies must act like a “mini-CEO” and become more externally focused to ensure the success of the business.

In a report written for the C Suite, Dennis explains how newly hired CFOs also need support from their colleagues at the beginning stages of their employment so that they “understand and adjust to the way work gets done, how people interact with each other and the unique company culture.

Dennis writes that “Over nine in 10 (91%) of new CFOs say there is no formal orientation program at their companies to help them through these transitions,”  and explains that it is important for existing team leaders to welcome a new CFO in order to guarantee good results.

According to Dennis, there are 4 ways to ensure that your new CFO is productive:

  1. Job description – it is important to make sure that your new CFO knows what is expected of them and what they should expect from other team members.
  2. Relationships – the new CFO should form good relationships with key stakeholders within and outside of the company from the start of employment to ensure quick productivity.
  3. Business model – an understanding of how the company operates is of paramount importance and the CFO should be able to adapt and work effectively under the company values.
  4. Finance function – from the beginning of their appointment, the new CFO must be well aware with future financial plans so that the company’s strategy is clear.

There has been a recent surge in new CFO hires and many are transferring to different industry sectors. A recent example is Ruth Porat’s move from Wall Street to Silicon Valley for her transition from Morgan Stanley to Google which shows that the role of the CFO is gradually becoming essential to the success of a business.

In an article for Financial Director, CFO of Betfair Alex Gersh says that in order for CFO’s to understand the business they should use business numbers to understand the direction the company is moving in, identify the pitfalls, allocate resources in the right areas and then track the investment.


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