> The DNA of the CFO - A toolkit for the aspiring CFO
The DNA of the CFOA toolkit for the aspiring CFO
Shown: Percentage of respondents Base: all respondents (669)
“Your up-and-coming, aspiring CFO needs to get themselves around a bit and get themselves on some interesting strategic projects.”
Evelyn Bourke, CFO of Friends Provident
Senior finance professionals hoping to reach a CFO position need to possess a rare combination of technical and interpersonal skills.
But as they reach the top of the finance function, CFOs quickly realize that it is their communication skills that are most important. Asked what would be needed to reach the next step in their career, respondents point to the need to build stronger internal and external stakeholder relationships as among the key attributes.
The essential ingredients of a leading CFO from the perspective of those leaders we interviewed were:
First and foremost an extremely good finance professional
A strong commercial sensibility
Deep understanding of the business
Good with people
Able to think strategically
Excellent communication skills — the ability to translate complex issues in a simple, straightforward way
Able to manage conflict well
A problem solver, not creator
Experience of running major projects
A business analyst
Able to manage stress and complexity under pressure
Ability to adapt to change
Experience of adversity
The CFO’s contribution
The CFO’s contribution is broad — from developing to enabling to executing strategy. We believe these six segments represent the full breadth of the CFO’s remit. The leading CFOs we work with typically have some involvement in each of these six — either directly or through their team.
While the weighting of that involvement will depend on the maturity and ambition of the individual, the sector and scale of the finance function and economic stability, they are all critical to leadership.
We believe there are core skills, areas of knowledge, experiences and relationships to cultivate in order for those who aspire to leadership to excel in each of these six areas of the role. Download a full copy (pdf, 886 KB) of the report for further information.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.