CFO-ing 101: 5 Tips to Make You an Effective CFO

Congratulations! If you are reading this, then that must mean that you are your company’s newly-promoted-slash-hired chief financial officer, or CFO for short. Since this is a position you worked hard for (and want to keep), no doubt you want to make sure that you are effective in your job. While there is no doubt that you’re probably good with finances (they wouldn’t have hired you if you weren’t, right?), being CFO means more than just dealing with numbers. Being a CFO means you’re one of the company’s top management. You’ve scoured the internet for ways to make yourself better in the discharge of your position but found yourself stumped at how highly technical most guides are. Well, don’t you worry! You’ve come to the right place.

Below are 5 easy-to-understand tips to make you an effective CFO:

  • Lead Your Squad

The keyword here is lead. I’m sure you’ve seen those posts on social media differentiating a leader from a boss. As cringe as one might find them, they actually make sense. An effective CFO leads their team not by ordering them around while they lounge around in their executive chair, they lead their team by mentoring and coaching their subordinates, highlighting the talents of each one. A CFO should be the glue that binds a diverse group of professionals together and make them excel in their own right. By finding strengths in each one, the company will achieve superior performance as a whole.

  • Champion Soft Skills

What-skills? Soft skills. You know, soft skills! Okay, so you probably don’t. To give the gist of it, soft skills are what make you meld together with other people. Interpersonal skills, in short. They’re called soft skills since they complement the hard skills which are your knowledge and occupational skills. The emotional quotient (EQ) to the intelligence quotient (IQ). As a CFO, leadership, and communication skills are crucial to the discharge of your duties. Finance professionals are increasingly expected to possess the abilities required to serve as strategic consultants. This includes stakeholder management, efficiency and control, overall strategy improvements, employee engagement, and effective communication skills.

  • Engage from the grassroots up

As much as possible, always involve workers throughout the organization in important processes, especially if said processes shall affect not just the company but them as well. Engaging in the grassroots level also increases your visibility to workers and makes them feel valued.

  • Have an open mind

While being conservative can have its uses in management, it can also be detrimental to progress. While we’re not encouraging you to go all out and make bold decisions for the company, it’s best to be open to new ideas. Collaboration, inventiveness, and open-mindedness are important characteristics that foster the development of new ideas that lead to success. In today’s ever-changing corporate climate, CFOs must make educated and forward-thinking decisions. You will be able to embrace change in a proactive manner if you use continuous learning procedures and keep an eye out for new ideas.

  • Listen

We can’t recommend this tip enough. A lot of management personnel tend to forget to do this. The CFO plays a critical role in shaping the company. As such, you should separate “yourself” from the role. In other words, change your perspective on yourself from self-centered to altruistic.

Listen to your teammates. Listen to your colleagues and subordinates. Sometimes, we can make a more informed decision when we have context and perspective.