more-arw search

Q&A Forum

When hiring a CFO, most companies require previous experience in the same field. Do you agree with this fact ?

A question on a Linkedin group. What's your feeling.

Answers

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

I do not find that to be true with my clients.

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

I know a CFO that helped with M&A of a trucking company that was then taken public. He left that trucking company to join the insurance industry as a CFO. Now he is working in the credit card industry.

I would have to say no, at least not the best CFOs. Maybe the mediocre CFOs that are not willing to really expand their career as well as the business acumen would need to stay in the same field.

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

Chris,

I think you misread the question. It's not the CFO whose limiting their career choices, it's the Hiring Managers.

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

Awe....Yes, I see now, Wayne. I didn't take the question originally to mean hiring managers, but rather the CFOs themselves.

Are hiring managers in charge of hiring CFOs? If that is being done, no wonder some CFOs are being excluded from new opportunities in different fields. Depending on the size of the company I would think the BOA or BOD along with other executives would be more involved in looking for a CFO that could deliver the company's strategic vision, irrespective of their prior industries.

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

A hiring manager can a single person, a group, based on advice from a trusted advisor or consultant. So if you look at the marketplace, many firms are IMHO pigeon holing themselves by thinking that their industry is truly unique, where most, not all, are very similar.

I see it as inbreeding issue which causes stagnation and doesn't permit the CFO from thinking outside that proverbial industry box...very limiting to the company.

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

IMHO, based on my own experience - more than 30 years worth - anytime a company or an industry claims it is "different" or "unique" from other enterprises, usually to justify going with something custom rather than tried and true off the shelf, they are setting themselves up for failure. This applies whether they are purchasing accounting software, recruiting a sales force, or hiring a CFO.

Business is business. Nuances perhaps. Uniqueness? Not so much.

Hiring managers are one of the worst IMHO. Robert Townsend in his book "Up the Organization" singled out HR departments as the most useless departments in any organization. Frankly, as much as I thought he was off base with that when I read that book more than 30 years ago, my experience with HR departments both from the inside and outside, says he was so right. Dead wood that gets in the way of individuals trying to move an organization forward.

Which only supports what you are saying about limiting recruiting to industry specialists.

John P. Hart
Title: Vice Pres - CFO
Company: Nova Pressroom Products, LLC
(Vice Pres - CFO, Nova Pressroom Products, LLC) |

"singled out HR departments as the most useless departments in any organization"

Here, Here!

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

Below is a post from Proformative on Switching Industries.

I often find that it's urgency that pushes people to seek similar industry experience and how much time they can afford to get someone to understand the business, especially in a leadership role.

There are some firms where the skills are simply difficult to learn without hands on experience - heavy regulatory, international scope, etc.

Having moved into financial services myself, I can say that the regulatory environment was a major challenge as my response to business issues had to be filtered through what we were allowed to do via regulatory requirements.

All of your skills of business, leadership, etc. will absolutely transfer - no questions asked.

https://www.proformative.com/blogs/mark-richards/2011/07/30/trying-switch-industries-what-skills-transfer

Hope this helps.

Mark

1193 views

Get Free Membership

By signing up, you will receive emails from Proformative regarding Proformative programs, events, community news and activity. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact Us.

Business Exchange

Browse the Business Exchange to find information, resources and peer reviews to help you select the right solution for your business.

Learn more

Contribute to Community

If you’re interested in learning more about contributing to your Proformative community, we have many ways for you to get involved. Please email content@proformative.com to learn more about becoming a speaker or contributing to the blogs/Q&A Forum.