Today’s CFOs … Much More than Bean Counters

A recent article in American Banker addressed the evolving role of Chief Financial Officers in banking.

The CFO’s responsibilities have broadened since the financial crisis, becoming more challenging and requiring executives to have an understanding of areas beyond accounting.

The Finance Chief’s role has been evolving and expanding for years, and not just within banking. It’s true for every industry.

So what does make a CFO marketable today, regardless of industry?

Thought Leadership

Marketable CFOs have the proven ability to envision a direction and/or initiative, execute that vision, and deliver a positive impact for the organization. Sitting at the executive table is different than being a leader who sits at the table and strategically contributes to the executive team.

Operational Knowledge & Impacts

Head knowledge without proof of ability to use it … is just head knowledge. A marketable CFO will have CAR+SI (Challenge – Action – Bottom-line Result + Strategic Impact) stories that illustrate his depth of understanding of dollars and operations – and – operations and profitability.

Operational CFOs with proven track records of positive impact are in high demand, and will remain so. They also make great CEO candidates.

Soft Skills

As the CFO, your finance skills are a given … and your marketing documents should reflect that fact with stories of solving real problems and delivering a tangible impact. However, today that is not enough.

The evolution of CFO from bean counter to strategic leader means soft skills matter. If no one is following you, you’re not leading; and without great communication and negotiation skills, you probably can’t be an effective leader.

Marketable CFOs are strategic, operational leaders, not numbers nerds.

Targeted Audience

Not everyone needs you, nor will your message resonate with everyone. But a Subject Matter Expert can help a well-defined market, will understand who that market is, and target his message to that audience.

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