The CFO Track

There is an interesting study from Ernst & Young on the career path to the CFO for the top EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa) companies. I’ve provided some of my thoughts compared to what I’m seeing in the States …

— The MBA was the most important educational consideration in the rise to CFO with only 3% holding both the MBA and an accounting background.

This is vastly different than what we see nationally with many CFO job descriptions “requiring” or “preferring” a CPA. In my conversation with an executive recruiter yesterday, he said his CFO profile always includes a public accounting background.

— 70% of the CFO hires came from a different sector.

While that is a very high stat, I do see that trend here in the States as well. Companies are recognizing that a breath of fresh air from outside the industry can help them to stop doing what they’ve been doing in order to get different results, even if that difference is merely getting unstuck.

— 57% were internal hires vs. 43% external hires.

These numbers align pretty well with’s stats last November where 57% of Fortune 1000 company CFOs were promoted from within. What is worth noting stateside is this … 59% of those CFOs who were hired externally were sitting CFOs. It remains very challenging to secure the CFO seat if you haven’t held the CFO title sans an internal promotion.

— Operations-oriented divisions account for 26% of the CFO hires.

This isn’t at all surprising. In fact, it’s a bit low when compared to the recent Accenture study which says 59% of all finance executives are consistently involved with improving operational performance. Of those 59%, 24% have daily and 44% have weekly communications with their operations counterparts.

Another very interesting point from the Accenture study … “Respondents overwhelmingly select interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills as having a substantial impact on their professional effectiveness.” What are you doing today to build your professional skill set for tomorrow?

Share and enjoy

1 thought on “The CFO Track”

Leave a Comment