The Chief Financial Officer, Chief Finance Officer or CFO is responsible for controlling costs; managing enterprise risk; analyzing new business opportunities; finding ways to raise capital in a risk-averse 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. The CFO has become a much more strategic role, with a focus on critical thinking and problem solving. The evolution of technology also impacts the investment approach and so CFOs need to be able to devise technology-related business cases. They need to help the organization manage all the financial implications of an ongoing technology investment.
When sourcing CFO candidates, executive search consultants or headhunters look for executives 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.
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.