Road to CFO

Your goal is to become a CFO?

This post is for you.

First you need to understand that there are many types of CFO:

-CFO of a listed company:

focus will be to manage the shareholders and launch strategic plans within the group

-CFO of a division:

The role here is to drive the performance of the business and make sure you apply the group strategy

-CFO of a medium size company:

The tasks are more diversed within finance (accounting, tax, treasury, compliance, analysis, M&A) and the role can sometimes be extended to an additional function like operations or human resources

-CFO of a small company:

Here the role is more hands on and the CFO needs to master the doing of many topics as the team is smaller and there are less experts

-CFO of a start-up:

The main goal will be to help financing the growth through external shareholders or banks. On the operational side the CFO of a start-up needs to focus on implementing tools and processes which can scale with the growth

Which skills do you need to become a CFO?

– Leadership

You will be a leader in the company and you need to drive the people

– Business partnering

You need to work hand in hand with the other departments to bring value to the company

– Technical skills

Depending on the role (see above) you need a more or less deep knowledge in accounting, corporate finance, FP&A, tax, treasury and systems.
However, you always need to demonstrate that your understanding covers all the topics and when you don’t have the deep knowledge, you are able to bring internal or external resources to help you make a decision on these topics

– Experience

You need a proven track record where you have demonstrated the skills listed above

You can acquire the experience by navigating between technical and analytical jobs which gives you a broader profile

To help you in your career make sure that you always have one job which was really close to operations

Start with smaller team and get more and more responsibilities along your career or get a diversity in the role you get