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Recommended Reading: The Best Stories on Proformative from March

Always Second in Command: Why CFOs Rarely Become CEOs
Although CFOs are increasingly the closest partners to CEOs and deeply involved in business operations and strategy, it is rare that they become CEOs. Last year, only 5% of new CEOs came directly from the CFO chair, according to an analysis of the largest U.S. companies by recruiting firm Crist/Kolder Associates. Like Stuart, most of those CFOs-turned-CEOs were promoted from within the same company. While the percentage can vary year to year, its peak over the past decade was still a slim 10.8%, in 2008. Experts estimate that the transition happens more often at smaller companies, where executive roles are generally broader than those at large ones, but still, it isn’t usually the type of move anyone is planning on. “More often than not, the track to CEO happens by accident,” says Samuel Dergel, an executive recruiter in the San Francisco office of Stanton Chase International.

Slice of a CFO’s Life: An Interview with Peter Oey
Celebrating his one-year anniversary as CFO of the social networking site MyLife.com, Peter Oey has experienced a lot of change in a short time. He’s had to adjust to working at a private company with fewer than 200 employees and a recent flurry of rebranding and product launches, having left his post as corporate controller at the 7,000-employee gaming software company Activision Blizzard in 2012. Besides handling the financials for MyLife’s new efforts, Oey also oversees IT and is in the process of moving MyLife’s infrastructure to cutting-edge cloud systems. Even though he has his hands full, Oey made time to participate in ProformaTECH 2013, Proformative’s corporate finance, accounting, and treasury technology conference in San Francisco.

How to Hold Departments Accountable to Their Budgets
It’s one thing to set goals, create a budget, and get everyone to agree to the details. But moving from concept to reality is quite another feat. After all the budget negotiations are done between CFOs and their peers in other departments and business units, how can they hold everyone accountable for the agreed-upon financial plans?

Why Strong CFOs Know Who Will Replace Them
While they don’t need a formal policy and may not want to write their resignation letter just yet, CFOs should have some idea of who could replace them, either because something tragic occurs, the company shifts direction, or they find another job. “Any and all executives holding C-level positions need to be thinking about and training their replacements,” says Cynthia Jamison, a senior partner at executive services firm Tatum. “At that level, doing so demonstrates mature, fiduciary leadership.”

7 Ways to Satisfy Your Auditors
Auditors want to see whether your company has strong internal controls that minimize the risk of a material misstatement, and, depending on your business, most of them will pay particular attention these days to revenue recognition, fair value issues, and related-party transactions. At a more general level, they also like to see clear communication and an orderly finance department. Here are seven tips for meeting auditors’ expectations and maintaining a good relationship with them.

Your Role in Building a Strong Company Culture
A strong corporate culture is about actions, not what is printed on paper hanging in offices or cubes. While it sounds like common sense, people learn from examples and role models – not fluff words on policy documents that are nearly indistinguishable from one company to the next. You can help set your company apart. Here are six ways to improve the culture at your company:

Trading Places: Why Companies Like Dell, Heinz Benefit by Going Private
The reasons for doing it vary, and there’s been much speculation and analysis over why Dell and Heinz are making the transition. “For Dell to reinvent itself will be challenging at best. The company made its name and its business selling customizable PCs, and that market is not so hot anymore. In order to change, the folks at Dell will have to get very creative,” says Steve Balzac, president of consulting firm 7 Steps Ahead. “When that experimentation is carried out in public, then it's going to be Monday-morning quarterbacked to death.” The scrutiny will come from both outside and inside Dell’s corporate walls, which could effect the company’s ability to succeed under its new status.

Change the Perception of CFOs: Don’t Be the Quiet One in the Corner
As the CFO title has expanded beyond its once narrow focus on company financials to a more encompassing and influential role, those who are starting out sometimes find the transition challenging if they have not previously held an operational role that required them to be more forward-thinking and communicative with people outside the finance organization. Finance professionals are sometimes seen as naysayers rather than business partners, or the ones who are most likely to hold up financial facts as a reason a company should not move forward on some grand plan.

What Should a CFO Tackle First When Taking on a New Position?
What exactly should you do first during the beginning of your tenure? Proformative members have been discussing just that in the Ask & Share section of our site, after one member asked how to answer the common interview questions of "Tell us the first thing you would do at your new job." The following tips will give your some insight into answering that question as well as ease you into your next new role

The Lowdown on the Upcoming Proxy Season
While it’ll be a dominant issue, exec comp won’t be the only one going up for a vote at the next round of annual meetings. Companies are also anticipating pushback from shareholders for additional disclosures and possible changes to how their boards are structured. The following are the seven hot topics you need to be aware of this proxy season.

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