How to Become a CFO


Today’s CFO can be a catalyst for change, and a person who helps to drive the strategic vision of the organization. He or she has to be able to operate as a key advisor to the CEO, keep board members happy and be comfortable speaking in public. If you want to become a CFO, here are 7 steps you’ll want to take.

Acquire a Broad Range of Skills
The CFO has to understand all aspects of the business as they oversee the organization’s financial operations. Experience in compliance and risk management, budgeting and analysis, and a firm grasp of what human resources, marketing, sales and IT do, help a CFO balance the responsibilities of stewardship with business partnership.

ReadThe CFO Competency Map” from CPA Canada to learn more about which specific skills make a great CFO.

Acquire the Right Education
The CPA teaches a budding CFO strategic thinking, leadership and management skills, financial and tax expertise and strong professional ethics. A CPA with an MBA is particularly marketable, as the MBA helps build business and operational understanding.

Increase Your Knowledge of Technology
Whether it’s Big Data or The Cloud, technology is changing the way accountants and finance professionals do business.

Know More About Attracting, Developing and Retaining Top Talent
According to Deloitte, the emerging talent gap is one of the most pressing risks that finance teams face. Today’s top CFOs are playing an increasing role in developing their organization’s talent strategy.

ReadThe CFO’s Role in Closing the Talent Gap” for more information on how CFO’s can work strategically with HR to recruit, develop and retain the leadership team of tomorrow.

Look at Controller and/or Treasury Positions
Gaining corporate experience in either controller or treasury positions increases funding and strategy execution experience.

Become a Leader, Not Just a Manager
Top CFOs have some very specific leadership traits. They can gain buy-in, facilitate consensus and influence key stakeholders. They inspire others and are exceptional communicators.

Get a Mentor and Network
A mentor can guide your career development, be a sounding board and an advocate. Everyone needs a mentor, regardless of whether you’re a junior accountant or CFO. In addition, networking and building strong, cross-functional relationships can give you the kind of network that will offer opportunities in both the immediate future and down the road.

ReadFrom Junior Accountant to CFO – Why Everyone Needs a Mentor” to learn about the critical role a mentor can play in advancing your career.

Key Takeaways
The path to CFO is one filled with purposeful choices. Gain a broad base of operational experience and skills. Take on leadership roles and learn how to acquire, develop and retain tomorrow’s future finance leaders. Get designated and make sure you are technologically savvy. Look at taking on controller or treasury positions as they’ll offer you the funding and strategy execution experience you’ll need as a CFO. Finally, find someone who inspires you, that you feel you can learn from, and ask if they would be willing to mentor you.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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