A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the corporate officer responsible for all of the financial planning in a company, as well as managing the company’s financial resources. They can take on several different tasks for your business, including managing debt, overseeing investment activities, and creating the necessary financial reports. Whether they are full-time CFOs or outsourced or fractional CFOs, they have the right skills to manage your company’s finances and maximize your company’s resources.
The right CFO will also have a chance to work with the CEO to determine the best plans and objectives for the company. After all, the CEO can’t make accurate plans about the future if they have no idea about the current financials of their company. In some companies, the CFO may also need to help with risk management and tax planning tasks.
The financial data of your business will help you to make smart decisions, but you need to understand how these aspects work. A suitable CFO will understand the numbers and can work with you to follow your plan and stick with your budget.
Hiring a good CFO can make a huge difference in how financially secure your company is now and in the future, but finding someone with the right qualifications and experience can be challenging.
Some of the steps you can take to find a good CFO advisor include:
Evaluate Their Experience Level
While there are often many professionals who are good at what they do and could handle a lot of work just out of college, when it comes to hiring a CFO for your company, you need to focus on experience, as this is a higher-level position, not an appropriate one choice for someone with less than two years of experience on their resume. If you are a company that conducts business internationally, ensure that you consider their international work experiences as well. According to Forbes, 72% of CFOs in 2023 have international work experience, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a qualified hire.
These younger selections will have a chance to build experience if you hire them for some of the other accounting positions your business may have. Still, when you need a solid CFO, you need someone capable and prepared for the job.
Specifically, make sure that the professional has a lot of accounting and financial experience and has experience specifically in your industry with these tasks. This helps you choose a professional who already understands some of your business’s unique opportunities and challenges and can lessen the learning curve quite a bit.
Strong Analytical Background
While interviewing potential candidates for your CFO role, you need to select an option that possesses a strong analytical background. It takes a lot of work and critical thinking to help run a business and handle the finances. Not only do you need to plan for how the money and budget are doing now, but this professional also needs to consider how to prepare for tax time and how the finances can be used to help the business in the future.
Evaluate your candidates carefully to find those with a solid analytical background. This is important because it allows the professional to understand and interpret all the financial data they have quickly and accurately. You want to take advantage of good opportunities because the CFO of your company struggles to look through the numbers and get the data out of it.
Many coworkers within your business need to know about the budget and where financial data stands. While this may seem insignificant in a CFO since they work with the budget and lots of numbers, it is important to choose a professional who is good at communicating. If the CFO is not good at communicating this information, it could lead to disaster.
The CFO you choose needs to be able to explain some complex financial concepts, even to non-financial managers. They should communicate in a manner that is easy for anyone to understand and get the information they need out of it. If the professional needs to improve at explaining things with all the financial jargon, or they are not good communicators, this can be a problem.
Look for a Strategic Thinker
There are a lot of moving parts that come into planning out the financials of a company. You don’t want to focus on what happens today or whether the company will be able to pay the bills at the end of the month. While both of those are important and fall under the responsibilities of a CFO, that is just the beginning. The CFO also needs to take the time to think strategically and work with other leaders in the company to come up with how to utilize the budget and finances to make a great future.
You should pick a CFO who is a strategic thinker. Choose a professional who can look at the company’s numbers and then develop creative solutions to any financial problem the company may have. This will help the company get ahead while using its financial resources well.
Pick a Good Team Player
No matter the qualifications of the CFO candidate you have your eye on, always make sure they are a good team player. They have to work with many other professionals in your company, from management down. If they do not do well working with others or struggle to be a team player, this can spell disaster.
Your chosen CFO should be a good team player all the time. They should have the necessary skills to work effectively with other senior management team members to find the right solutions along the way. Check into their background and ask for references to determine whether that candidate has been a good team player for their employers.
The Bottom Line
A good CFO will help your business do well and keep you out of financial hardship as your business grows. Whether you need someone to take over when your current CFO retires or moves on, or you are looking for your first CFO to help the business run smoothly, you need to go with the right candidate for the job.
There are many great financial professionals out there. Nonetheless, you can select only one choice to become the perfect CFO. Look for someone with the above characteristics and see what a difference it can make in helping your business manage its finances.