CFOs Hiring “People” People

A recent survey by Accountemps is indicative of a growing trend in finance. CFOs not only want people with people skills working for them, they themselves bring higher value when they bring relational skills sets to the table.

The Accountemps survey shows a dramatic increase in the value of interpersonal skills in the people they hire. When CFOs were asked what would tip the scales between two top candidates, 31% said interpersonal skills … up from 1% in 2004.

With CFOs, that skill set is also key. In conjunction with a proven track record in finance and today, operations, companies are increasingly hiring those finance leaders who are forward-thinking, good communicators, and have the ability to groom team members as well as their successor. Two of those three require solid people skills.

In fact, according to a recent K-Force article, being an award-winning CFO involves, “first and foremost, strong leadership skills … with the ability to tailor leadership styles to the situation at hand and set the right example for the finance team and the company as a whole.” You can say you’re a leader, but if you don’t have people following … because they want to not because they have to … you probably aren’t really leading.

And Tatum has pushed its CFOs to get training in “the softer skills,” including communications and negotiations. At the foundation of both are solid people skills.

In his blog, Beyond Beans, Chief Financial Officer Ben Paramore writes about the skills most valued in CFOs by  company directors. Beating out finance skills were integrity and the ability to communicate. Included in the list were team skills and positive relations with the financial community.

Bottom line … those accomplished CFOs with a strong digital footprint and solid network (so they can be found) and who possess stellar people skills will continue to be high-value targets by recruiters and companies.