The CFO of Today and Tomorrow

Although this article from Laura Miles at Bain & Company was written a year ago, I think it quite accurately address the challenges CFOs face in maximizing value for their companies.

These points also translate pretty well to a Finance Chief’s secret weapon in marketable positioning when he decides it is time to move on to a new opportunity. This summation by Ms. Miles …

Only after you determine where to excel, understand your starting point and lay plans for closing the gap can the finance function be the strategic partner it needs to be.

… lays the groundwork for compelling C-A-R+SI stories for value positioning. Challenge – Action – Result + Strategic Impact. What challenges, problems, situations, issues can / have you solved; how; what are the measurable impacts to the bottom-line; and how have your efforts strategically positioned the company?

Understanding what you love doing, do well, and want to do more of in your next role fosters the self-awareness of your unique problem-solving abilities within your sweet spot. You can then articulate your value through the lens of solving problems and adding value to the executive team of prospective companies.

Oh, there are shortcuts …

— focusing on duties and responsibilities because that is a comfortable paradigm requiring zero effort;

–  using impacts, even measurable impacts, but with no context for the reader to understand the associated problem-solving capabilities; or

– creating marketing documents (resume, Linkedin profile, cover letters) that are so superficial in nature that any true ability to add value is not readily apparent.

However, when competing for those coveted, and limited, Chief Finance Officer roles, making sure you understand your value increases …

– your opportunity to win that strategic partner position in a right-fitting company; and

– that company hiring the exact, right candidate because it clearly understood – and needed – your problem-solving skills.

It’s a win for all sides!


Copyright CFO-Coach 2018


Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via email, by phone 813-727-3037, or through her website at

Branded Differentiation & Value

Whenever I come across the same theme multiple times within a short amount of time, I feel the need to write a blog post. That happened yesterday.

First, the Fractional CFO blogged about “differentiation.” Now his post was focused on differentiation within retailers … Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Linens n’ Things; Best Buy and Circuit City; Home Depot and Hechinger’s … but there's a definite pattern. Only one lives on.

“Without a strong differentiation from competitors, a business is much more vulnerable and therefore more likely to suffer from pricing pressures, loss of market share, and eventual failure.”

The word “candidate” could just as easily be inserted in place of “business” in the above quote. 

Then, my good friend and C-Suite Colleague Deb Dib summed up branded value in this tweet …

How good hires happen: 

Brand+value = interview 

Brand+value+ROI = short list 

Brand+value+ROI+chemistry = fit = hired! 

A visible, branded, and differentiated ROI is the key to standing out from the competition while offering something of value that a company is more than happy to pay to get. Whether you live on as a high-value CFO target, get bested by the competition, or disappear in the masses … is a choice.

FBSoP is NOT a Good Career Strategy

A gentleman who requested my article, “5 Easy Ways to Beef Up Your Linked In Profile,” wrote to let me know that he appreciated the recommendations in the article. 

But …

He also went on to say that although he knew he should be spending time completing his Linked In profile and cultivating his digital footprint, he was a busy man with a family and already struggling to balance his time. For now, for today, it is just not the most important thing in his life.

Isn’t that true for most of us? So much to do, so little time. I think it’s especially true when we hold a high value of family. And since that is one of my values, I understand and respect the desire to make time with family a priority.

That said, the only one who is vested in your career is you. Your career, which brings home the paycheck, is what allows you to care and provide for the family you value. 

So if you take nothing else away from anything else I ever write or have written, please understand this. If you get into the habit of spending 15 minutes a day proactively working on your career … while you are still gainfully employed … it will go a long way towards ensuring you will not be sitting on the curb desperately wondering how you are going to provide for the family you value.

You are finance leaders who create and execute the 3 to 5-year financial plans that navigate your company to the next level. Now, more than ever before, it is important to create and execute a career survival plan that identifies where you want to go, what you need to have in place to get there, and when you want to make that next move. A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants (FBSoP) strategy isn’t good enough for your company, and it makes no sense to relegate your career to that strategy either. Not today. And not if you want to be perceived as a high-value target.