Your Next Chief Financial Officer: The Complete Interview Question Guide


In addition to what’s mentioned above, a CFO must also possess cash management skills and the ability to supervise the financial function. An Accounting degree is definitely a plus, but is not necessary; as long as he understands how the numbers are generated and can effectively communicate these to other managers, and then he will be an effective CFO. In these days of economic challenges and changes, many companies struggle with uncertainty about the future, seeking tools and resources to best position their businesses for financial success. Often it can be beneficial to bring in a financial advisor who has… Many CFOs come into their role after being promoted from Controller to CFO in a previous company. However, in many cases, this promotion does not include a change in expertise, coaching, or mentorship. If your CFO made this transition long ago, they would likely have developed this high-level financial experience over time.

What are key performance indicators for a CFO?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the standards by which CFOs measure company health and performance. These KPIs are used in nearly every financial function, including accounts receivable, payable, cash flow reporting, and more.

Ernst & Young 4 abilities of great CFOs. Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence as leadership qualities. Many CFOs have adopted more frequent, empathetic and human communication approaches during this time.

The Role of the CFO of Today and Tomorrow

The second most important quality was “a willingness to experiment and take calculated risks,” which was selected by 54%. This, again, has resonance in the COVID-19 era, given that many companies have had to rethink their business models to survive the economic consequences of the pandemic. Discover how EY insights and services are helping to reframe the future of your industry. For many manufacturers, retailers and distributors, the pandemic revealed weaknesses in supply chain operations that an experienced CFO can help address. The most-valued CFOs are visionaries — they have an eye toward the future, work closely with top leadership and aren’t shy about recommending strategic moves. Brainyard delivers data-driven insights and expert advice to help businesses discover, interpret and act on emerging opportunities and trends.

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Yes, finance chiefs need to ensure that they and the management team have timely data to support decisions. But strategic planning and collaboration across all parts of the business are what drive success.

How to Recognize Quiet Firing & Take Charge of Your Career can also lean into the business case for tech upgrades, championing their value as a competitive advantage, helping to differentiate the company. And, last but by no means least, CFOs need to significantly improve skills training for the entire finance team.

WalkMe Ltd. Appoints Hagit Ynon as Chief Financial Officer – Yahoo Finance

WalkMe Ltd. Appoints Hagit Ynon as Chief Financial Officer.

Posted: Wed, 15 Feb 2023 12:02:00 GMT [source]

Let’s not forget the CFO deals with people outside of the company, so strong communication skills and the ability to translate complex financial principles to those who may not have their CPA is important. The most important thing is that you have these six characteristics we’ve seen in our time working with successful financial leaders.

Top CFO Challenges

CFOs often work closely with the CEO and weigh in on high-level strategic decisions. Both the CEO and CFO have a direct conduit to the board or directors and are entrusted with the organization’s stewardship. Some experts advise $10 million in annual revenue as a marker that it’s time to hire a full-time CFO. But don’t forget that part-time/fractional and virtual CFO-as-a-service offerings are available. That enable them to assemble a successful finance and accounting team.

What should CFO focus on?

CFOs work to protect the vital assets of the company, ensure compliance with financial regulations, close the books correctly, and communicate value and risk issues to investors and boards.

CFOs are captains of a team that covers both accounting and finance and consists of senior leaders, such as controllers and VPs of finance, and operational staff — accountants, bookkeepers, tax specialists, data analysts. While the CEO occupies a higher-level position from an org-chart standpoint, in high-functioning companies, the CFO and CEO work closely and collaboratively, with CFOs serving as sounding boards, strategists and risk mitigators. CFOs may also help set technology direction, especially fintech, and make recommendations on everything from supply chain to marketing based on their fiscal insights and industry knowledge. Are more likely to report high levels of satisfaction with their finance function across most dimensions. Personal perspective on what makes for a successful modern CFO Behavioral competencies are key to the business partnership role—a “seat at the table” must be earned. Never has the role of the finance department and the CFO been so complex and strategic. It enables and empowers the organization rather than replacing it.

This means not only providing financial data and reporting but also to be able to advise actions that will “move the needle” in a company’s progress toward its goals. If CFOs have learned anything in the past year, it’s that they must be agile and innovative leaders skilled at predicting and planning for a future that is anything but predictable. The essential skills for CFO success go far beyond mastery of the financial basics, the ability to adopt popular management practices, or even the intuitiveness to know what the CEO is thinking. If you want to be successful in leadership, you must know that building relationships and developing trust are crucial. Stick to an open door policy and try to make time and listen to what your employees have to say.

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