The CFO Job Position
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is responsible for controlling costs; managing enterprise risk; analyzing new business opportunities; finding ways to raise capital in a risk-adverse environment; meeting regulatory requirements; and working with the CEO and Board of Directors to examine strategic alternatives. CFO jobs have transcended the traditional scope of finance by expanding business responsibilities and serving as a key business partner to the CEO.
In 2013, a study by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants member search firm Spencer Stuart revealed that the average tenure for CFO jobs at Fortune 500 companies had risen from 4.9 years in 2008 to 5.9 years in 2013. Throughout the last 5 years, modern CFO leaders have been helping their companies during the financial crisis. Now that markets are stabilizing, the CFO jobs should become more long-term as they were pre-crisis.
CFO Abilities Required by Executive Search Firms
When sourcing for CFO jobs, search consultants and executive headhunters look for candidates with excellent technical and interpersonal skills who can translate strategic options into financial results. Headhunters and executive recruiters identify appropriate CFO candidates by evaluating certain criteria including problem solving abilities; creativity and innovation; flexibility; dependability; and confidence to lead in an ambiguous environment.
Career Experience Required by Executive Headhunters for CFO Jobs
CFOs need functional experience in financial planning and analysis; accounting and controls; and mergers and acquisitions. An executive recruiter or headhunter will also look for managerial experience and exposure to a variety of business units. Current CFOs advise that senior executives should strive to move internally at the corporate level or into specific divisional, business or operational positions, even if a change represents a lateral move. Exposure to control, treasury, investor relations, financial planning and analysis is important. In cover letters, resumes and discussions with executive search consultants and executive headhunters, the CFO job seeker should demonstrate a balance between being a business partner and excelling at the control aspects of the job.
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