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Director of Finance to VP of Finance

I have my annual review with the CEO of the company next week and I have expressed that I am looking for a title promotion. Here's a little background. I work for a very, young company (4-5 yrs old, 35 employees). I started there 3 years ago and was reporting to the CFO. A year later, the CFO was transitioned out (budgeting reasons) and I took over everything the CFO was responsible for. This included working with the bank for financing options, auditors, tax and legal partners. In addition to that, I have been responsible for forecasting, budgeting, operational analysis, reviewing the monthly financial statements, etc. Since the CFO transitioned out 2 years ago, I have been reporting to the CEO of the company. I have a Sr. Accountant working for me. I have a BS in Accountancy and an MBA with a focus in Entrepreneurship. I have 3 years of Audit experience and 7+ yrs of FP&A and Financial Management experience. My current title is Director of Finance. I am looking to be promoted to VP, Finance. Is this a reasonable ask? Thanks for your expert advice.

Answers

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Anon
Are you looking for both a title promotion and a raise?
What value have you brought to the company since becoming the finance leader?
What titles do the other functional heads carry-would VP be compatible?
How does the CEO see your contribution-what signals has s/he sent during the year?
That may help you frame your approach/make your case.
It's a good test of your ability to demonstrate your ability to negotiate:)

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Here is my comment on the tone and "reading between the lines" of your post....

The value of a CFO or a VP Finance/Controller?? (depending on org structure) is NOT in the "doing" but in the "deciding" and "guiding".

You have enumerated DUTIES OR THE THINGS YOU DO, NOT (as what Len has indicated), the VALUE you have brought to the company or the accomplishments in the position.

If all those you enumerated are in your resume (and not the accomplishments and contributions you have made), would you hire yourself for the higher position? Would your CEO say, Anon is a good "worker" but not sure if he will be a a good "executive".

I would NOT rattle off these duties to your CEO. I would rattle off the value you have brought to the company. Examples....Saved $$$ in T&E. Reduced budget by $$. Established budgeting procedure and cut budgeting time by X time.. Reduced monthly closing from X days to X days. Reduced A/R by X amount. Streamlined AP process saving X amount or Y days.

I will tell you this....If you came to me with the litany of your duties and asked for a promotion? I would say NO.

Anonymous
(Director of Finance) |

Thanks for the advise. Here's how I would propose this then.

1. Actively reached out to 20+ financial institutions in order to get a line of credit financing. The only other option at the time was to obtain a loan at 10% annual interest. I managed to obtain a LOC financing from a traditional bank at a significantly lower interest rate. Value brought to the company? Flexible cash flow, the ability to spend cash on bringing in new customers/revenue, and reducing our interest expense.

2. Allocated aggressive, yet achievable departmental budgets. bringing down Travel and M&E costs by 40% per month. This involved putting together a process around travel bookings and ensuring the process is followed.

3. Streamlined A/R process reducing the Over 90 receivables down to zero and bringing the DSO from 60+ days to 45 days.

4. Building vendor relationships and reducing audit costs by 65% and tax costs by 50% this year.

The business had been in distress for a while (hence the CFO transitioning out). Managing expenses, sales pipeline, etc and holding people accountable for their goals, I have contributed to the company's profitability.

Regarding signals, here's some background. We have 2 Co-CEOs, one of them is who I report to. The other CEO has mentioned numerous times that I am my Boss's right-hand person. They have both mentioned that I have accomplished way more than what the ex-CFO did and that they are glad the CFO hired me 3 years ago. In my last annual review, my boss listed me as one of five people he would take with him IF he were to start another brand new business. Also, my boss randomly mentioned last week that he'd make me Senior Director and that we'll talk about it in my review next week. However, we do not have any Senior Directors in our company. We used to have a VP of Operations who was promoted to the COO last month. Currently, there are no individuals holding a Senior Directors or VP title. We do have a couple people in Marketing holding a Director title - these people have no direct reports and IMO, aren't touching every single department like I have in my role.

Len - I got a 10% raise in Q1-2015. This was my first raise since hired in Q3-2013. We got funded late last year and I have allocated budgets for each area and am keeping payroll increases with existing staff to minimal. I need to walk my talk, and will not be asking for a salary raise this year, which is why a title raise is key for me.

I appreciate your opinion and thoughts. Please keep them coming!

Thank you!

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

"We got funded late last year" << You coming in pre-funding (most probably not market rate and most probably with equity position?) and in the process of scaling out the team is a major factor to consider. But again, my main point still holds.....accomplishments!.

Everything depends on your co-ceo's strategic decision on scaling. Having said that, I would NOT wait for them to tell you "their" organizational vision....PROPOSE THEM and TELL THEM WHERE YOU FIT!

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Ok, so your value is appreciated and recognized. And, your boss has already hinted at Senior Director. I'd stick with that for now, don't push for VP quite yet-I would think your co-CEOs would like to see you continue adding value so they have a reason, say next year, to promote you to VP.

Regardless of your title, the biggest accolade you have is being called "the right hand man."

If you have a positive view/vision for the company, I would think less about VP and more about some profit share/equity (maybe even an ESOP?).

Anonymous
(Director of Finance) |

I came in pre-funding at a decent market rate, no equity. I am a 100% involved with the organization's vision over the next couple years. Major expansion in sales, marketing and operations. No additions planned in Accounting/Finance. The focus is to bring in new customers and accelerate revenue growth.

Side note, is what I listed above in points 1-4 not accomplishments?

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

1-4 ARE accomplishments. I was just reiterating my initial main point.

Regarding my second point....as you said, you are 100% involved in the organization's vision. TAKE CONTROL OF IT...propose YOUR vision. Tell them where you fit, and WHY you fit. The "whys" are your accomplishments...1 to 4 and whatever else you can think of.

Taking control of it is basically showing them that you ARE fit for the promotion. They may NOT see the exact same vision as yours....but that is showing/proving them you ARE ready (have been ready?) for the next level.

Again to my initial post.....it is not the doing but the guiding and the deciding. It is a crude statement but worth its salt.

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Reading your initial post and your last post , you can already see the difference. You have a more compelling argument. In fact, your argument has shifted to an "ask" to "inevitable". Now you just need to show your "strategic" side.....hence take control of your org vision.

Anonymous
(Director of Finance) |

I actually am not in it as much for the money as I am for my growth along with the company's. I highly doubt they'd be willing to share any more equity at this point. Knowing there's no equity/profit share or pay increase options at this point, my only growth option now is a title increase. In your opinion, should I not present my case as to why I am ready for the VP role? (Note that I have not mentioned anything to them about what I am looking for as yet).

My CEOs are well aware that my goal is to become the CFO and everything I have been doing is preparing myself to get to that. Also, what do you think is more desirable for CFOs - a CPA and/or a CMA and/or a MBA?

Thanks so much for your advise!

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