CFO career journey

Stepping stone or destination?

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Stepping stone or destination?

When asked about their career aspirations, 64% of CFOs across the Asia-Pacific region see reaching the CFO role as the pinnacle of their career.

Of these, almost two-thirds would like to move to a CFO role with a larger organization, while the balance is happy in their current role. Whether satisfied at their current CFO level or wanting to move to a larger organization, the broadening scope of the CFO role and the potential to influence corporate strategy means the majority of CFOs are gaining career satisfaction from the CFO role.

This busts the myth that CFOs largely see the CFO role as only a stepping stone to CEO; it is a destination in itself.

Given the evolving nature of the CFO role, this is not surprising. However, it does mean that CFOs wanting to move to larger organizations must ensure they have the requisite strategic capability, stakeholder management skills, communication skills and senior leadership skills, which are now the minimum requirements of CFOs.

For the remaining 36% of CFOs who are wanting a career change outside the CFO role, only about one third have their sights set on a CEO role. So while a career path to CEO is on the agenda for some CFOs, it is no longer the automatic career aspiration or destination.

In terms of achieving the next steps in their careers, 38% of CFOs believe they need to gain more experience in their current role.

They also intend to build relationships and trust with both internal and external stakeholders.

Stakeholder engagement is an important aspect to career progression for CFOs across the region, with 34% highlighting the need to build relationships with external stakeholders and one-quarter building relationships internally. This need is driven by the recognition that to excel and progress as CFO, they must have the confidence of stakeholders.

This article was excerpted from Shifting up a gear: from core finance to corporate strategy.