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How to make your next move as a CFO

4 months ago by Kyle Grainger
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The role of the CFO has changed radically over the last few years from an accountant on the board, to trusted business partner, to vital C Suite strategist.  A CFO these days is typically second in command and a business-critical partner to the CEO, taking responsibility for many more duties than simply the finance function. As the digital revolution has changed the face of most organisations, CFO’s have played a crucial role, harnessing new technology to report on business performance; transformation; strategy, data analysis and evaluation of new growth opportunities. It’s no surprise that, with fingers in so many pies, the move from CFO to CEO is also becoming more common. 

Despite a lengthy tenure with an organisation being common, however senior they may be, CFO’s of course do move to advance their careers like the rest of us. At this level, it’s rarely about salary and more about a new intellectual challenge, perhaps to develop a start-up or manage within a much larger business, or perhaps purely because a ceiling has been reached with a current employer or a long term project come to fruition. Unlike with most resignations and subsequent moves, there is a best practice process that a CFO should follow, and as a specialist recruiter well versed in helping many CFO’s with their next moves, we have distilled their final months into a list of things to remember:

  • Future proofing: minimise disruption in your finance team by either appointing an interim deputy or allocating tasks and training key staff. A CFO departure and subsequent hiring is a major event, but the finance function’s daily role cannot afford to suffer during the process.
  • Don’t burn bridges: if possible, try to leave at an optimum time for the company you are leaving. If that means seeing a project through to completion or assisting with succession planning while you work a full notice period, then do it. It will only reflect well on you in the long term.
  • Recruiters: It’s important to have a trusted relationship with the right recruitment consultant to help with your next move. This can be an existing relationship that has served you well in the past as a hiring manager, or a specialist at your senior level, but either way, make sure that they have your best interests in mind at all times.
  • Target roles: If you haven’t been headhunted directly, which is common at a senior level, don’t simply apply for every CFO role you see online. Talk through your particular skill set with your recruiter to find the right match in terms of role and organisation. This is also the time to understand your value in the current market, which your consultant will also be able to explain.
  • Network: If there isn’t an offer on the table immediately, be patient. Network in the right circles to uncover opportunities that may be coming up that would suit you better.

If you are a CFO considering a new chapter, or an organisation looking for senior talent, contact us today.