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HIGH-ly sought after CFOs?

While reading CFO.com this morning, I came across an article that makes me curious about how the well-established CFOs differ from the younger CFOs, that are trying to become established, thoughts on the marijuana business. http://ww2.cfo.com/growth-companies/2014/01/entrepreneurs-investors-high-pot-business/ This industry is off to a start, albeit extremely slow, but the use of plant is legal for medical purposes in 21 states, according to the article. One state so far legalized it for recreational purposes. How would you feel to join a firm that is in the marijuana business? High-quality CFOs are desired by many companies, paying top dollar for their expertise. How likely are you to seek a career in a HIGH-ly regulated business? What stigma would need to be overcame before you would even think about joining a marijuana-based company?

Answers

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

What great questions, Chris! This is where branding can really play a role in one's decision-making, as a move into such a controversial role would certainly impact future career opportunities - and - dollars aside, the environment must be a good fit with your values or you will quickly become dissatisfied.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Very true about branding. I think this would make a great blog post for you. I wonder how CEOs would feel about hiring someone from this industry.

I couldn't imagine being who I am and representing what I seek to represent while working for a marijuana-based company. I think the cost of what I would lose in many circles outside of finance and accounting would be too great to join, regardless of the pay. For me this environment doesn't fit, regardless of how reputable it is operated. A business like this has RICO and FCPA written all over it.

Topic Expert
Brenda Goudey
Title: CFO/VP of Finance
Company: KDR Designer Showrooms
(CFO/VP of Finance, KDR Designer Showrooms) |

Those are interesting questions, Chris. As a 'well-established' CFO in the relatively conservative midwest, I wouldn't plan to move in that direction myself. However, when I was younger I would have considered it - if, as Cindy said, the environment was right. As long as it was operated as a professional organization, supplying product within legal boundaries and not just operating as a shell for management to buy product to get high, it would probably be interesting. Obviously, it is a growth industry where you'd possibly end up in a position to help establish industry standards future legislation.

I've worked for and with a lot of different types of distributors, and frankly, at the end of the day - it's all widgets anyway for the accountants.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

How would it be so different from being the CFO of a tabacco company? The product is legal, but generally accepted to be addictive and quite detrimental to one's health.

I once hired an accountant who had a short stint as a madam at a Nevada brothel on her resume. She did not take kindly to people joking about it either. She saw it as serious business and was not at all embarrassed by it.

Like so many factors in life, from career choices to how one decorates their home, the reaction or approval of others is out of one's control, wildly variable and not worth losing sleep over. It all depends on who you're marketing yourself (or your product) to.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

I think the difference is that tobacco hasn't always been stigmatized in the U.S. until recently (15-20 years). Marijuana has had a stigma against it in nearly all circles except with people that participate for years. It was never said, "Look at those cigarette smoking hippies and their free love. Wasting their brain cells." It was the marijuana and other illegal drug users that were seen in such a way.

Tobacco has received bad press because of the revelations of years of its use. Tobacco commercials, when they were allowed, were always sexy, cool, and everyone was having a good time. Now users are informed about its destructive qualities.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I see it has an assessment of risk and reward. As long as there are no issues about legality, one would need to balance an opportunity in this industry against other options. Included in that assessment would be the possible impacts on future employment opportunities. From a personal standpoint, I would not consider it a negative when considering employing an individual who was in the CFO role in a business that was perfectly legal but not up to everyone's social standards.

Scott Kantor
Title: CFO
Company: In Transition
(CFO, In Transition) |

I completely agree with Mark's assessment...and I, too, would not consider it a negative when considering employing an individual from that industry. However, recognizing that everyone may not necessarily be as socially liberal as I am about certain things, I would be most concerned about the impacts on MY future employment opportunities.

David Shiflett
Title: Sec-Tres
Company: Alabama Bridge Builders, Inc.
(Sec-Tres, Alabama Bridge Builders, Inc.) |

Sounds like murky waters to me. Especially under the Risk Management hat we all wear at one time or another.

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

Congrats Chris!

http://ww2.cfo.com/careers/2014/01/ups-downs-cfo-marijuana-careers/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonvqXBZKXonjHpfsX%2B6u4rWaGg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YIETsJ0aPyQAgobGp5I5FENTrDYUKhrt6EPWQ%3D%3D

Topic Expert
Samuel Dergel
Title: Director - Executive Search
Company: Stanton Chase International
LinkedIn Profile
(Director - Executive Search, Stanton Chase International) |

Chris,

I was once (last decade) involved with recruitment for accounting professionals for a tobacco company, and I have to say that the company had a very difficult time hiring for their team because many people did not want to be associated with working for a tobacco company.

Will an upstart marijuana industry end up being like tobacco (which used to be acceptable but is no longer as accepted), or like alcohol (wine & spirits - which used to be unacceptable - during Prohibition - but today is a very accepted)?

Time will tell.

We are all responsible for our personal brand. The choices we make are ours to make, and we need to ensure that we can be proud of those choices.

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

- The choices we make are ours to make, and we need to ensure that we can be proud of those choices. -

I think a decision for or against relates directly to our value system, Samuel. And our values are tied directly to our personal brand. Whenever we violate our values, we end up dissatisfied, discontent, and often miserable. And, of course, those "wrong" decisions can also confuse or malign our brand at the same time.

Elizabeth Pearce
Title: CFO
Company: Green Jane Inc
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Green Jane Inc) |

I posted another question on accounting for the marijuana industry.

Support for some form of legalization is now at 54% http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/07/6-facts-about-marijuana/ and three-quarters of all states have made some move towards decriminalization in recent years.

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