Mike Wilke, founder of The CFO Advantage, pointed me to a great post about 7 key attributes for start-up CFOs. I think many of the attributes transcend “start-up” CFOs and have provided my thoughts … and welcome yours.
It’s all about the CPA designation. Without a doubt, the CPA vs. non-CPA controversy garners unending discussion, debate, and opinion. Regardless of where you fall in the debate, the reality is, as the article states, the CPA designation is for many companies foundational. I’d go one step further than the author and say that the CPA in conjunction with an MBA from a top-rated school is “the” winning education combination … when accompanied by a clear record of contributions.
Operational excellence. The author frames this as “installing just the right amount of process, reporting and structure” for smooth-running growth. Looking at the bigger picture, the CFO with solid operational experience, expertise, and track record is an incredibly solid prospect. Add the CPA/MBA and you might just have prospective companies salivating.
“Been there, done that.” Looking beyond start-up, I’m seeing some companies beginning to recognize that they have been entrenched in industry thinking and if they continue on that course, they will keep getting what they’ve been getting. To gain the competitive edge, they need some fresh thinking. From the candidate perspective, it takes visibility and a solid network to close that sale.
I found this stat very interesting … “25% of CFOs make it to the CEO of a start-up and are better prepared than ever to take over that senior leadership role.” Bottom-line, regardless of the company size, it’s about leadership. CFOs are mere bean-counters no more.