How To Be A Great CFO or FD

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Ever wondered what it takes to be a really effective Chief Financial Officer or Finance Director?

Here are 11 qualities and skill sets you will need to possess to become a legendary Lord of the Ledgers or famous First Lady of Finance.

11 Qualities Of A Great CFO


1. uncompromising professional integrity, honesty and impeccable ethical standards - the ability to develop and maintain the trust and confidence of others; telling it as it is and telling it up front. Without integrity none of the other qualities have any value;

2. excellent communication skills - at all levels (the board, peers and the finance team) and all audiences (the wider business, shareholders and the outside world);

3. self-confidence / 'being right' - the ability to take a stand and defend a position backed by good data, sound judgement and strength of conviction;

cfo joke

4. being a good people person - ability to lead, develop and retain a high calibre team;

5. strong commercial acumen and sense - a deep understanding of the business: its profit drivers, markets and customers;

6. affinity with the numbers - a full understanding of how they are generated and the ability to interpret their meaning and significance for others ;

7. strong relationship with the CEO - the ability to both support and challenge the CEO;

8. visibility and presence - maximising the chance that the Finance function will be consulted on and involved in all major initiatives and decisions;

9. ability to think strategically - being involved cross-functionally, seeing the bigger picture and being freed from the traditional accountant confines of desk and office;

10. gravitas - difficult to put in to words but you know when someone has it.

11. getting luck on your side - meeting challenges with a mixture of thorough preparation, tapping into the experience of others, and intuition. To quote from golfing legend Gary Player: "The more I practise, the luckier I get."



Great CFO - Reference sources

The DNA of the CFO (Ernst and Young)

How to be a great finance director or CFO (Real Business)

What makes an outstanding Finance Director? (Grant Thornton)

Ten qualities of an effective CFO (Capital Eyes)

What qualities do you need to be a great CFO?  (Linked In discussion)

11 More Qualities Of A Great CFO


1. willing and able to protect, defend and fight the Finance team's corner with peers

2. strong work ethic

3. able to successfully manage conflict

4. problem solver not creator - ability to translate knowledge and insight into win-win solutions

5. experience of running major projects

6. ability to manage stress and complexity under pressure

7. good health and robustness

8. operational experience

9. ability to adapt to and embrace change

10. experience of adversity and lean times

11. passion, and an ability to instill it in others



tags: great CFO, CFO, Chief Financial officer, FD, Finance Director, effcetive