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Executive Office qualifications are age bias and why does a CFO require a CPA. It's outsourced!

Into today's market, at middle age your resume has 15 or so years of expereince, but isn't everyone wanting to know the rest.  I have been told to hide age and so use the 15 year rule but "did I get my MBA and start as a VP of Finance".  Of course not but with telephone interviews the person on the other end is sitting there trying to quess my age. How do experienced VP of Finance, CFO, Director of FP&A and so on get that edge?  I do not think Linkedin is that place anymore.  It has more international jobs than domestic jobs listed on some job sites.  Can you name a few "great" sites to use?

In addition, I have never hired a CFO in any of the companies I built for VC's that had CPA's.  That service is outsourced and I found that the "grey area" the CFO needs to think in is not in a CPA's bandwidth.  Thoughts?


David Cole
Company: Haines, Isenbarger & Skiba LLC
(CPA, CVA, CRFAC, CGMA, Haines, Isenbarger & Skiba LLC) |

The CPA credential, or the CMA for that matter, really only indicate a person's desire to evidence their commitment to the profession. They aren't an indicator of whether the person will make a good CFO or not. They do provide some comfort that the technical accounting and tax matters shouldn't present any major challenges, but aren't any assurance that the person can be the type of thinker that the position requires. I've encountered many CPA's that are excellent Controllers, but can't make the adjustment in their thinking to be good CFO's. P.S. I am a CFO who has the CPA designation and one thing I've learned in my career is that linear thinking has its place, but generally not in the CFO's mind. You've got to be able to hear the story, believe it and then have the vision to be able to see how it can be implemented and not the "why it can't be implemented". Anyone can tell you why something won't work. The trick is to find a way to make it work. My first CEO taught me that.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

I don't know about age bias, but you might be interested in this popular and free 34 page PDF titled

"The Value Of Certification:"

It covers the certification topic.

Also, value to an employer and therefor value back to the employee often hinges on what the employee knows and can accomplish. That is why you might also want to take a look at...

"The Proformative Community Guide To ERP Selection & Implementation:"

Enjoy! Best... Sarah

Kevin Whyrick
Title: Vice President - Finance
Company: EnviroTech Services, Inc.
(Vice President - Finance, EnviroTech Services, Inc.) |

I would agree that most CPA's are required to think strictly according to GAAP. This causes a conflict when in the CFO roles. There are some CPA's that can think globally, but a lot do not have the outside the box thinking required of a CFO in a medium to large company.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Whenever your resume tries to hide something, like age, the red flag is raised and the focus is off you as a candidate and on "what is this person trying to hide." In my opinion, as a senior-level executive you shouldn't be trying to hide your age, especially from a recruiter. They want to understand your career progression so they can sell you to their client.

There is no question that age bias exists in some companies. That's a fact and you can't work there if it exists. So move on. There are plenty of companies who will hire senior candidates IF that candidate has something it is willing to pay to get. Not responsibilities, not necessarily an MBA, not necessarily a CPA ... but value as a problem solver who can take away the company's current pain.

Linked In is not a job board, it is a networking site. Many people find jobs by having a strong digital footprint on Linked In and in fact, some even find jobs through postings. But that is not the purpose of Linked In.

Less than 10% of available jobs are posted on job boards and that number drops the more senior you are. Playing the posted position game is ineffective, frustrating, and gets in the way of a candidate doing the harder things a candidate needs to be doing in order to find that next position.

Topic Expert
Barrett Peterson
Title: Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis
Company: TTX
(Senior Manager, Actg Stnds & Analysis, TTX) |

A CFO does not always require a CPA, particularly for companies which also have a Controller. GAAP is compliance and external investor focused and shuld be something aware of but not always a dominant focus. Business Stragegy, economics, operations effective ness and financial management of capital reousrces - inclucing borrowing capacity - are critical success factors. A keen appreciation for pattern recognition and trade-off considerations is typically essential.

For well versed candidates with diverse and quality experience, I do not encourage trying to conceal age. For older candidates age should be their most valuable asset. Most senior retained search recruiters ignore candidates without identified education, including year of graduation. Promote your ability to solve a range of problems rather than focusing on age or other not very informative measures.

Use websites to identify networking [face-to-face]opportunities rather than find job opportunities as web brosing has a very low "payoff".


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