No one becomes a CFO unless they are prepared to challenge themselves.
6. Be a “critical friend” to your business
To be a true partner to the CEO, a CFO must be confident about backing them in public and challenging them in private. This will only be possible if they understand the commercial drivers of the business and have earned the trust of the CEO. So don’t just wear your finance hat when you go to meetings; put your business hat on as well.
7. Nurture your team
A CFO is expected to be an outstanding leader, so you will need to show the board that you understand how to recruit, motivate and develop the best people. That may mean sending them on a secondment to another part of the business, where they will gain new skills and a fresh perspective.
8. Return calls from recruitment consultants and executive search firms
You may not be looking for a new job now, but it’s always worth staying in touch with people who might be able to help you in future. They can expose you to opportunities that you may not have otherwise considered.
9. Don’t chase inflated job titles
The organization you work for, and the experience you get, are more important than a pompous designation. Use the first 10 years of your career wisely to build up a broad experience base that will set you up for the future.
10. Network, network, network
Thankfully, networking is about more than eating canapés in overcrowded rooms. It’s about having lunch with existing colleagues, staying in touch with former colleagues, and attending industry conferences and events. At the risk of stating the obvious, the more visible you are, the more likely you are to be noticed.
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The views of third parties set out in this article are not necessarily the views of the global EY organization or its member firms. Moreover, they should be seen in the context of the time they were made.
Ten key pointers drawn from the experience of some of the world’s leading CFOs, based on Sally Percy's book, Reach the Top in Finance: The Ambitious Accountant’s Guide to Career Success.