Views. Vision. Insights. The evolving role of today's CFO

Careers in perspective

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Our surveys in EMEIA recorded extremely high job satisfaction in the CFO role — a finding in accord with the leadership position these executives hold.

One further finding intrigued us. Our survey results in EMEIA suggest that only a low percentage of these executives aspired to the CEO role. When that finding was presented to our Americas-based interviewees, responses were varied; but it can fairly be said that while our respondents in the Americas are extremely satisfied in their current roles, they are markedly more likely to aspire to a CEO position.

"There's no reason why the CFO role can't be as rewarding a career as a CEO's."
Fareed Khan, United Stationers

No fewer than half of our CFO respondents in the Americas would consider a job as a CEO if the right opportunity came around, and of those with backgrounds from outside finance — in operations, in strategic M&A, even in commercial roles, the percentage is higher.

Painted in broad strokes, two groups of CFOs emerged in our Americas interviews: one whose members are thriving in the role and seem content to remain in it, the other whose members — while fulfilled, engaged and clearly thriving — would consider other opportunities in future, including a role as CEO.

Clearly, individuals' opinions about their future roles differ based on circumstances, personal preference and the point at which a CFO is in his or her own career. But across the spectrum of different perspectives, it is clear that in this regard ambition drives aspiration — not any present dissatisfaction in the role.

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