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What are the typical requirements to become a CFO?

Hassan Mesha's Profile

And what steps do you recommend taking to become a CFO?

Answers

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

I believe it somewhat varies by size of company, but in general a CFO should have these qualities:
1. Vast experience in financial matters.
2. Mature in years and temperament.
3. Ability to connect with people at all levels of the organization.
4. Significant experience in building financial organizations.
5. Strategic thinker with outstanding insight.
6. Experience in more than one industry.
7. Highest integrity and honesty.

Unfortunately too many companies, especially small ones, have Managers and maybe Controllers as CFOs. So the title has lost a lot of its meaning. In my opinion, when I see a 30 year old CFO at a company, I chuckle. There isn't anyway that person has the experience, maturity and temperament necessary to be a true CFO. But maybe my expectations are too high for the title.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

How do you see a 50 year old Controller? Age bias goes both ways! We don't call an apple an apple only after it is ripe and picked. I would not call it high expectations....just a form of bias.

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

I've met young CFO's that are impressive and unimpressive - same for those 50 year olds.

The only absolute is that an older person had more time to accumulate experience, but that doesn't mean that the experience was worth accumulating or the quality is as good as that 30 something's.

As usual, we have issues with quantity vs quality. They are not the same, and will never be the same.

Michael A. Capristo, M.H.A.,..
Title: Business Consultant
Company: Business Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
(Business Consultant, Business Consultant) |

A CFO should be fluent in the following areas; GAAP, FASB, Managerial Accounting in addition to any specialized accounting relating to the company in question. The qualifications to be a CFO are not static. Although there are some basic requirements that Translate across industries.
Age is not a factor required to be an
effective CFO. However, mental acuity, reasoning, insight and the ability to see both direct and indirect market trends and their potential impact on the business are crucial to all CFO position holders.
The CFO is the financial steward of the organization and should be highly skilled in developing strategic plans to maximize revenues and, perhaps more importantly, clearly map out plans that detail how the organization will negotiate lean financial periods. In this regard, a capable CFO should have a clear vision of the company's position at all times...within their immediate market as well as the larger industry market as well.
Finally, what sets great CFO'S apart from mediocrity, is the ability to translate complex financial matters into easily understood and relateable terms to organization members who are not numbers oriented themselves. The ability to explain how individual and group behaviors affect the numbers is what sets superior CFO's in a class above...their ability to communicate and relate to everyone at every level.

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

Michael,

I was wondering where you developed your CFO requirements?

Hassan Mesha
Title: Finance manager
Company: Overseas Travel Bureau
(Finance manager, Overseas Travel Bureau) |

How i can prepare strategic plan?

Michael A. Capristo, M.H.A.,..
Title: Business Consultant
Company: Business Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
(Business Consultant, Business Consultant) |

In order to prepare a complete, and on-point, strategic plan you must first have a crystal clear understanding of your organization's current position. This may require a comprehensive assessment of all divisions/departments as well as an analysis of your market. If possible, indirect market forces should also be considered wherever possible. These indirect forces translate to contingency planning; part of your strategic plan.
Once you've completed the above assessments, you can develop a vision of the desired destination of the organization.
Every journey has a starting
point and a destination...now you can begin drafting your strategic plan. Your plan is your road map detailing how you will move your company from where it is to where you want it to be. This plan should include details of finance, resources, marketing and a complete picture of how you will navigate the journey.

Michael A. Capristo, M.H.A.,..
Title: Business Consultant
Company: Business Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
(Business Consultant, Business Consultant) |

Hello Wayne,
I have 30 years of diverse experience in management spanning four industries. Additionally, I have my Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration and Bachelors of Science in Business Administration degrees.
My experience in the real world and academic training have been intrumental in helping me develop an answer to the question of what it takes to be a CFO.
This is a really excellent forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas and perspectives.
Thank you so much for posing the question!
All the best,
Michael

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

Forget the requirements for the CFO, the question should be.....

"WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE COMPANY VIS A VIS ITS CURRENT AND NEAR FUTURE LIFECYCLE STAGE?"

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

And depending on where you are on the ladder, the company culture, your ability to attain the goal of CFO at your company, you still might want to widen your experiences in different jobs (same company/different companies).

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