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How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations (1 viewing) (1) Guest

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TOPIC: How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations
#1559
How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations 5 Years, 2 Months ago Karma: 0  
In a recent article in the Journal of Accountancy, veteran CFOs give advice to CPAs seeking the top job in finance. They say CFOs must be well-versed in these five skill sets before stepping into the lead finance role.

#1 Strategist...Differentiate yourself from the other accountants in your organization by being more strategic. Look holistically at the organization so you can understand the implications of problems and opportunities in individual parts of the business.

#2 Translator...The CEO is the organization's chief visionary and lead strategist. However, to be effective, a CEO's strategy must mesh with the organization's capabilities and be successfully implemented. It is critical for the CFO to translate the capabilities and performance measures of the organization into useful information for the CEO, and, in turn, translate the CEO's strategy into a measurable, actionable plan. Once the translation is complete, the CFO continues to communicate the strategy throughout the organization and the results back to the CEO and other members of the leadership team.

#3 Leader...CFOs, like CEOs, must motivate the people in the organization to achieve its mission. Interpersonal communications are extremely important. CFOs also need to set the ethical tone for presenting the company's financial condition to stakeholders.

#4 Technical Generalist...Rather than specializing in a single area, try to gain some experience in as many finance jobs as possible.

#5 Facilitator...The best way for a controller to step up to a CFO position is to help other groups in the company realize their objectives rather than pointing out flaws in their proposals.

What else would you add to this list?
 
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#1560
Re:How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations 5 Years, 2 Months ago Karma: 2  
Bean counter, leader, politically savvy, great communicator--all that in one person. Plus, in this environment, nerves of steel. How many individuals are there who combine all these qualities?

I would hope another quality should exist--willingness to mentor possible successors. That's pretty essential to developing people able to step into these shoes and make them fit.
 
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#1562
Re:How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizati 5 Years, 2 Months ago Karma: 0  
CFO's also need to be realists. As the stewards of shareholder assets, they're the ones who have to say to the CEO (gently, mind you), "This is a lousy idea and it's going to suck a lot of cash out of this company and we're not going to generate any kind of reasonable return."

That takes guts.
 
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#1563
Re:How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations 5 Years, 2 Months ago Karma: 0  
One other thing: be a mensch and pay your personal legal bills rather than sticking the people with the tab like the gang over at Fannie Mae did.

Gretchen Morgensen wrote this weekend all about how Fannie's top execs were sued by the government this year for overdoing it on the bonus pool. This after a government report that put it out there in scathing black and white: “The conduct of (CEO Franklin D.) Raines, chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard, and other members of the inner circle of senior executives at Fannie Mae was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity."

Leanne Spencer, the former controller at Fannie, joined Franklin and Howard as a defendant in the suit, which describes how the lender cooked the books from 1998 to 2004. Raines, Howard and Spencer agreed to a $31.4 million settlement, although the government had sought a $100 million fine and $115 million in restitution. Why these three aren't in jail is beyond me. The best part of the caper, as Morgenson tells it, is how the Fannie brass stuck the rest of us with their lawyer fees: "Between Sept. 6, 2008, and July 21, we taxpayers spent $2.43 million to defend Mr. Raines, $1.35 million for Mr. Howard, and $2.52 million to defend Ms. Spencer."

Crafty, yes. Decent? Hmmmm ...
 
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#1564
Re:How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations 5 Years, 2 Months ago Karma: 0  
I agree that responsibility, accountability, and integrity have got to be key. The example should be set at the top. No T&E inflation!
 
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#1565
Re:How to Make it to the Top in Finance Organizations 5 Years, 2 Months ago Karma: 2  
These qualifications are so impossible to meet--I wonder what kind of special training, schooling there is. For example, what do business schools teach about the requirements for this job or for how to position yourself for it? Has that changed in recent years?
 
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