You Are Out of a Job …

You’re Out of a Job, Now What” in Today in Finance at CFO.com is perfectly timed for the Personal Branding Summit being held today from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

<<Coke is the real thing, while with Allstate you’re in good hands, and Nike just does it. What’s your brand? How do potential employers, former colleagues, and service providers perceive your brand of management and business savvy? Part of the answer is in your personal style, says Croddock, who has worked with many CFOs who run tight ships, but remain detached and even abrasive. Applying such an approach to job hunging won’t work, says the executive coach. Rather, work to become more involved with people, not just the work, during a transition and beyond.

Proul claims that "career goals may change, but a branded individual will have the ability to make transitions easier and at their discretion." And the building blocks of a personal brand are probably already listed on a job seeker’s résumé, including the types and size of the industries, markets, and companies a candidate has worked in, as well as career path, work/life balance, skills, strengths, and expertise, says Proul.

Also, candidates should co-brand themselves through association with employers or departments, writes Proul in a report he authored for Century Group. He explains that many candidates are called in for interviews because of the strong reputation of the company, industry, or products with which they are associated. Writes Proul: "Your employer already spends time and money on marketing; you can capitalize on it. In no other business relationship can you more freely use the branding and name of a company without consent.">>

The entire article is terrific … and a must read for every finance executive who understands that a business plan for his career is just as important as the business plan for his company.

Why MEASURABLE Impacts are So Important

According to the article “CEOs Don’t Earn Their Pay, Execs Agree” in Today in Finance at CFO.com magazine,

>>Although chief executives are usually charged with setting performance measures, 58.8 percent of respondents said the reason for overcompensated CEOs is a lack of real performance objectives and evaluation. Further, 47.8 percent said rewards bore little connection to future corporate performance. And 39.6 percent faulted "undue CEO domination of the process" as the reason for exorbitant pay.

With everyone seemingly ganging up on the CEO, it might comfort some that 56.3 percent of those surveyed said that their board has a formal CEO succession plan. Good news for the CFO is that most of those queried consider the finance chief to be a natural choice to take the top job.<<

A CFO can become the trusted advisor and confidant to the CEO in creating and executing strategic growth initiatives; benchmarking world-class finance performance measures; and becoming a very visible face of the organization through liaisons with investors and lending institutions thereby positioning himself to move into a CEO role.

The challenge I see … constantly … from my CFOs is a focus on what they did rather (responsibilities) rather than how they delivered (performance). If that sounds like you, begin today to keep track of both the measurable impact to the bottom line and the long–term strategic importance of your contributions. It will matter in defending your future salary.

Movin’ On

An excerpt from CFO.com’s Editor Letter of September 27 says …

<< The latest CFO/Duke University Business Outlook Survey found CFOs pessimistic about the economy and reigning in spending and hiring. But a Robert Half survey suggests that might not apply to their own departments: finance hires are predicted to rise.>>

In an attempt to find more information on the CFO.com site about this, I stumbled across Julia Homer’s article, “The Three–Year Itch.” It says in part,

<<CFOs (and their bosses) are vacating their offices at an alarming clip. Various surveys estimate the average tenure of a CFO at anywhere from four and a half years to a mere 17 months.>>

This kind of trending, coming directly from CFO.com, should serve as a wake–up call to all senior finance executives. It is not the “good–old days” anymore where company loyalty kept you there for most of your career. In all likelihood you will be moving out of your current position, and it may be sooner than you thought.

The question becomes, will you have to hunt for your next position or will you be found as the ideal candidate? 

CPA CFOs

There was an interesting Finance Quiz in CFO.com recently. For those who missed it, you can read it here: http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/7938502/c_7935456?f=home_todayinfinance

For me, and for those of you on a CFO–track, this question should have caught your attention.
3) What percent of today's Fortune 1000 CFOs have neither an MBA nor a CPA?
a. 92 percent
b. 24 percent
c. 10 percent
d. 55 percent

Answer: b. Twenty-four percent of Fortune 1000 CFOs have neither a CPA nor an MBA. In 2003, many more — 41 percent — lacked either qualification.

A–players who want to go to the top need to understand the importance of this statistic. The number of CFOs – who are not credentialed – has dropped considerably in the past three years, and that number will continue to fall.

CPA CFOs are the candidates of the future. According to Spencer Stuart, the number of CFO-CPA’s among Fortune 1,000 companies has almost doubled in the past two years. The trend to recruit CFO’s with more technical accounting backgrounds will probably only continue into the next decade. Not being a CPA will make it increasingly more difficult to compete for top CFO positions.