Leveraging Executive Search To Find Your Next Finance Leader

Leveraging Executive Search To Find Your Next Finance Leader

Leveraging Executive Search To Find Your Next Finance LeaderToday’s Chief Executive Officer is a key player in any growing company. Gone are the days of the CFO role being all about books, compliance and financial reporting. Companies now need a CFO who can wear multiple hats and who can prioritize, transform and deliver.

Finding the right CFO with the right skills can be risky business. For that reason, growth companies need powerful technology to find qualified candidates and enable the right hiring decision. Executive search does just that.

Here’s more about the type of leader you need one your executive team and how to find your next CFO.

The CFO Of the Future (No, They Are Not Just the Finance Guy”)

Source: entrepreneur

All competent businesses have competent chief financial officers (CFOs). Indeed, it is difficult to envision any serious business venture -startup, local corporate, or multinational- without a CFO at the helm, spearheading value creation, strategy development, and, of course, financial reporting. A brief survey of history, however, reveals that the spirit of the CFO is, quite likely, still in its infancy. The birth, so to speak, of the CFO position can be traced back to as recently as the 1960s, following which it has experienced a drastic flux in terms of duties and responsibilities.

We, at Michael Page, have had front-row seats in witnessing the CFO’s evolution from a back-office bookkeeper to a strategic, tech savvy business partner. As the demands of business have grown with heightened competition, access to education and technology, and global connectedness, so have the number of hats worn by the CFO, who was initially a finance manager, or, more generically, a “finance guy.”

Gone are the days of the rigid job description entailing budgeting, book-keeping, and tax reporting. Today’s CFO is, among others, a leader, a trusted advisor to senior executives, a systems and operations expert, a master negotiator, and a technical specialist. The expansion of the CFO’s scale and scope remains underway, presenting a host of challenges and, naturally, opportunities for the modern-day business.

How best to tackle the challenges and appreciate the opportunities at hand? Enter Michael Page’s CFO and Financial Leadership Insights report. The culmination of extensive primary research by way of surveying top global CFOs and industry experts, our Insights report adds concreteness to the sometimes “fuzzy” nature of the modern CFO’s job description. Our analysis sheds light on four broad ideals the best CFOs must personify in dealing with new-age business issues such as compliance, technological disruption, talent management, and cybersecurity.

These ideals are, in no particular order, that of Coach, Pilot, Scientist, and Engineer. As a Coach, the CFO must project strong leadership and mentorship to motivate their troops. As a Pilot, the same CFO must align policies and strategy in order to navigate turbulent markets. The Scientist within the CFO must guide their organization to the bleeding edge, whilst the Engineer develops feasible solutions across the business to achieve business goals at all horizons. We find, and indeed agree, that the top CFOs must not only rigorously master each ideal, but also diplomatically prioritize between them on a circumstantial basis.

In a similar manner, the top business issues identified by our CFO network are interconnected. In fact, this interconnectedness is exponentiated by the ideal chosen -Coach, Pilot, Scientist, or Engineer- when evaluating a problem. Resultant solutions, again, are fluid and related.

Consider the issue of compliance. Studies by Thomas Risk Management, a U.S-based insurance firm, reveal that a fresh regulatory alert occurs every 12 minutes within a business. 2018 heralded a complete rethink of user data compliance with the European Union’s introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). At first glance, the impact of the GDPR was a seemingly trivial surge in privacy policy update e-mails by companies. Behind the scenes, however, their respective CFOs spent many months tinkering with updated data warehousing systems as Scientists, managed expectations across all levels of their firms as Coaches, and executed feasible implementations to maintain compliance as Engineers, with a strategic, birds-eye perspective as Pilots.

Cybersecurity -once a buzzword within academia and industry- is now a household term demanding attention across all units of society. By some estimates, north of a million cybersecurity attacks occur globally every day. WannaCry remains fresh in our memories as a ransomware that almost instantaneously plagued entities across 150 countries last year. Needless to say, businesses must fortify their armor. Surely, the CFO mustn’t be responsible! On the contrary, the Scientists within our research group strongly expressed the importance of IT skills; the Coaches focusing on providing related training across the board. The Pilot sees a warning light while relaxing in their metaphorical cockpit, immediately tasking the Engineer with securing the business’ digital assets. A task for a team of experts- who also happen to be key characters assumed by the same person! At this juncture in our discussion of deeply detailed, technical matters, it is instructive to take a step back, and appreciate the value of optimality in operations: not too much, and surely not too little.

“Information overload,” perhaps one of the severest problems faced by society at large, was first introduced as a concept by the philosopher Denis Diderot in 1755. Nearly three centuries later, our CFO respondents, such as Philippe de Briey (EU CFO, Monsanto), posit that time-consuming, transactional aspects of finance and business in general be automated, freeing up resources for strategizing by the Pilot, and soft skills development by the Coach. Ryan Mangold (CFO, Taylor Wimpey) interestingly claims that “the soft skills of the CFO are ultimately more important than the technology,” and rightfully so. The Pilot needs to negotiate high-level matters, whilst the Coach nurtures their teams to eventually do the same; though “they” would be greatly hindered without the laborious systems implementation by the Scientist and the Engineer. Thus, the modern-day CFO is tasked with the rather elusive goal of developing granular data streams and encouraging their analysis within a perspective prioritizing commercial feasibility and broader business objectives.

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CFO Executive Search 

The modern CFO can offer powerful insights to drive the direction of a growing company. These growth companies need to invest in the right executive search to place a true leader in their organization.

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Clarity is a recruitment agency specializing in the placement of designated Accountants and Finance professionals in the GTA and Vancouver. Our mission is to improve decision-making in hiring by investing in behavioural science and hiring technology. We specialize in Project & Interim Resourcing, Permanent Search and Executive Search and recruit Finance and Accounting Executives for growth companies. We are a tenured team of successful recruiters who have worked in the major industries across Toronto and Vancouver. info@findingclarity.ca.

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