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How to Transition from FP&A to CFO?

Introduction to how to transition from FP&A to CFO on an orange and white background with an illustration.

How can you become a CFO if you work in FP&A? If your goal is to move from FP&A to CFO, you should know that your path will not be easy. In other words, it will require your effort and choosing the right steps.

Top 5 Steps to Move from FP&A to CFO

Here are the five important steps you need to take.

#1: Build Up Your Experience

The hard reality is that you need experience. And the experience is there to help you build the skills, relationships, and knowledge you need to become a good CFO.

How can you reach the required experience?

First, get exposure to different roles within FP&A, Controlling, and Finance. Additionally, work with operational departments, central and shared functions, but most important for your career path to CFO is to work with management on strategic topics.

#2: Build Up Your Skills

In my opinion, you need a strong understanding of finance and accounting. In addition, you will be responsible for the whole finance function, and you need to be ready to decide on any subject with your team.

How can you build up your skills?

To begin with, you need minimum knowledge of the three financial statements and how they interact together (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flows).

Also, you will need a general understanding of tax, budgeting, processes, and tools. Ultimately, you cannot master everything, but having an edge on one of these topics can help you be more efficient in your role.

#3: Build Up Your Business Acumen from FP&A to CFO

As you move up in your leadership path, your decisions will have even more business decisions to make rather than just pure finance decisions. Therefore, you need to understand your industry and have a sense of the commercial mechanism with all stakeholders involved.

How can you achieve this?

My advice is to be curious and learn from all the other departments on how they operate. Furthermore, you should participate in strategic discussions and get involved in some contract negotiations with customers and suppliers.

#4: Become A leader of The Company

As you raise the ladder, you will have to carry the message in the name and the management of the company.

Moreover, your audience will not only be the finance employees but all of the employees. In addition, you will have to cover a lot of many non-finance topics like HR, commercial, strategy, tools, legal, and ESG.

How can you become a leader?

First, start to think and act like a leader right now. After that, get yourself involved in all the leadership discussions and participate in non-finance topics discussions with strategic implications.

#5: Learn How to Build A Team You Trust

Finance as a function needs different experts and motivated staff to serve the other departments and tackle the finance topics. Therefore, you will need to surround yourself with people who can help you translate the strategic objectives of the company into productive daily tasks.

How can you build a team you trust?

To begin with, learn to delegate, hire an external expert and integrate them later in your team to build a clear career path within finance.

Second, identify young talented people and keep them in your network. Moreover, you will need them if there are some turnovers in your company.

Conclusion – Transitioning from FP&A to CFO Is Possible

In short, here are the steps you need to take to transition from FP&A to CFO.

  1. Build up your experience
  2. Build up your skills
  3. Build up your business acumen
  4. Become a leader of the company
  5. Learn how to build a team you trust

You are currently an FP&A analyst and need a roadmap for your first 100 days? Check this article.

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