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What does it really take to be a great CFO?

Another good question from LinkedIn based on an article on "Grumpy Old Accountants"


James Peters
Title: President
Company: T-Drill Industries
(President, T-Drill Industries) |

Can you tell me where I can read the "Grumpy Old Accountants" article?

David Belgum
Title: CFO
Company: LeoNovus, Inc.
(CFO, LeoNovus, Inc.) |

The following attributes are a pretty good start and reflects a balance of technical and soft skills.
• A strong commercial sensibility
• Deep understanding of the business
• Good with people
• Able to think strategically
• Excellent communication skills
— the ability to translate complex issues in a simple, straightforward way
• Able to manage conflict well
• A problem solver, not creator
• International experience
• Language skills
• Experience of running major projects
• A business analyst
• Able to manage stress and complexity under pressure
• Good health
• Operational experience
• Ability to adapt to change
• Ability to handle adversity
• Passion

This comes from a recent survey of CFOs -- sorry I am not able to provide the source.

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

That's a great, comprehensive, answer, David. I would focus especially on two that are not typically associated with CFOs: communication and passion. I find these to be the most important of that list of very important things. Maybe a way to look at this is that the others on the list (IMHO) are the "ante" to being a CFO. A good CFO even. But very strong at communication and passionate about what you are doing and the company you are doing it for, that makes for a great CFO.

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


Your question got me thinking about the role of the CFO and I dug up a briefing note from a management workshop back in my past; I placed it in a blog at

Thanks for the link to the grumpy accountants too!

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Len -

Happy to agitate to little grey cells, mon ami :)


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