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Flow of communication

My friend joined as a CFO , a newly created position, in a sole proprietory establishment. The existing Accounts and Finance Manager does not give the report to CFO, but gives directly to the Owner. Since the Owner directly interacts with the existing Manager, CFO does not know exactly what is happening in the Company. He reported the issue to the HR Manager and the Owner also. But still it continues and it affects his efficiency. What suggestions should we give to the newly joined CFO?

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

He/She needs to sit down with the Owner and have a frank discussion of the implications.

Since this is a new position, the Owner may be unaware of the unintended consequences of by-passing the CFO.

Anonymous
(General Manager / CFO) |

Thanks for your suggestion. Will advice accordingly.

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Agree with Wayne. Have your friend resolve with the Owner. Any chain of command must be enforced from the top, else it is meaningless. You can't tell someone they are in charge of a function, allow a flat hierarchy to continue, and expect positive results. And you can't as the "appointee" allow the status quo to continue. If the Owner doesn't budge, better to walk as that individual will likely blame *you* down the road for the situation *they* are perpetuating. I learned this the only way that matters.

Anonymous
(General Manager / CFO) |

Thanks for your suggestion. Will advice accordingly.

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

My take....Communication (or the lack of it) is just the symptom and not the cause.

When the new position was created, the owner KNEW full well what the position's responsibilities and roles are. My take is that the owner is either (1) NOT READY TO RELINQUISH CONTROL....(2) still has lingering concerns and/or (3) lingering habit/behaviour.

Yes, a frank talk is in order....but in my opinion SHOULD have been done even before he came on board.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

One would assume (in this case with full explaination by Felix) this was understood upon acceptance.

That would have precipitated a non-discussion.

Anonymous
(General Manager / CFO) |

Dear Emerson,
This has been discussed by the friend before joining.
For example, Even the Owner is asking my friend to control the entire cash flow. But since the owner is the only authorized signatory, he signs the cheque without the knowledge of the CFO. So, CFO, in his mind, there is a balance in the bank, where as in reality, there is no balance. My friend always wants to empower the employees, but it costs now his peace of mind.

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

"Owner is asking my friend to control the entire cash flow. But since the owner is the only authorized signatory, " .... that should have been a red flag.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

I have to agree with Emerson, time to either separate from the engagement or have a very frank heart to heart with the understanding that the CFO will walk if it happens again.

Jenny Laughlin
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Remote-Learner
LinkedIn Profile
(Chief Financial Officer, Remote-Learner) |

Completely agree with the need for a frank and pointed discussion with the Owner but a discussion with the Accounts and Finance Manager is imperative as well to make it clear in both directions. There may be resistance from the Accounts and Finance Manager to the insertion of new leadership...it can feel like a demotion and effectively is, presumably for a reason that may well be attributable to company growth or increased complexity rather than any failure to perform by the Accounts and Finance Manager. Regardless of the reasons for the new position, the CFO must be very firm that he is copied on ANY emails between the owner and other employees on his team(s) and that he is informed immediately after any discussions that occur for which he is not present and that involve his area(s) or that could impact the financial position of the Company. No exceptions. His name is likely publicly presented as the financial leadership of the Company. He must have financial authority and an awareness of all financial transactions, events, relationships.

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

To a certain extent, I disagree with "talking" with the Accounts and Finance Manager/s or any personnel down the line. You may be creating LOYALTY RIFTS for the employees and NOT good for company culture overall . Any situation that will put employees in a predicament (in this case...their loyalty) should be avoided. The issue is between the CFO and the OWNER. To explain the situation, sure!

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