Today’s Chief Financial Officer requires a complex blend of qualities, a far cry from the narrow financial specialist of the past, as our guide explains.

Financial acumen and accounting competence are the givens. But if you want to be taken seriously as a chief financial officer, that’s only half the story. And it’s a story that’s still evolving as the role takes on added importance in the C-suite, whilst simultaneously facing a major crisis of leadership confidence, as our Leadership Confidence Index revealed.

In 2015, KPMG’s global survey predicted that out of everyone in the C-Suite, it was the CFO that was going to rise in importance. And so it has proved.

Growing challenge

The CFO must have the astute vision to look behind and beyond the numbers. You have to be the CEO’s strategic business partner, knowing the detail, but also scanning the horizon. Chances are, you’re going to be the ethical flag-bearer for the business too.

And the list continues. Digital transformer. Strong leader. Resilient, and an excellent communicator, and adept at team-building too.

“The challenge is finding someone with the strategic acumen to be a thought partner to the CEO, while executing the more tactical elements of the role flawlessly.” Ross Woledge (Toronto)

Our Odgers Berndtson executive search guide explains the evolution and growing importance of this agenda-setting role, what’s changed (and what is changing) and, importantly, how to stand out if you think this is the next step up for your career.

A CFO guide drawn from experience

This guide maps out the skills and traits of a great CFO, highlights where the would-be CFO of today should focus his or her efforts.

We will see a much more diverse and well-rounded class of CFOs emerge, replacing the old stereotype of cookie-cutter accountants in matching suits.

In compiling this guide, we have drawn on the considerable experience of countless successful CFO executive searches. We’ve also thought deeply about our clients’ evolving expectations and needs when they hire CFOs, and, finally, we have analysed market trends across the Odgers Berndtson global network.

Our  guide covers the following:

  • What does today’s CFO role look like?
  • Which personal qualities are a must?
  • How is the role going to change?
  • What’s in the CFO’s management portfolio today?
  • What’s the impact of technology?
  • Where will a CFO’s headwinds come from?
  • How easily can you go from CFO to CEO?
  • How do you stand out as a CFO candidate?
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The evolving CFO

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