Since finance is an integral part of all businesses, finance professionals can work in any sector. And while the fundamentals of finance are the same everywhere, sticking to one industry will give you a competitive edge as you learn more industry-specific skills the longer you stay in one. After gaining a finance degree or certification, some aspiring CFOs might begin their career as an auditor, financial analyst, or in an accounting department. As the head of finance, this is a primary responsibility for the CFO of a company.

How to Become a CFO in 7 Steps

As finance continues to barrel persistently towards automation and digital transformation, CFOs who can envision and champion change become more favorable. As a business matures, fundraising becomes a critical role of the CFO. Making these changes can be surprisingly easy, even under current conditions.

The Skills & Qualifications of a CFO

If you’ve got the chops, being a CFO can be a lucrative career full of exciting challenges and growth opportunities. Cross-training and job shadowing are two good ways to start developing this deep knowledge. For instance, if you’ve always worked as a staff accountant, talk to your manager about doing a stint in, say, the operations or manufacturing department. If that’s not possible, try volunteering to serve as your department’s representative on cross-functional committees.

Smart CFOs survive challenges by using financial planning and analysis to its full potential. Making decisions faster because the future won’t wait for you to get ready. Of course, you still need to make hard commercial and personal decisions. Yes, you’re a CFO because you know the numbers, but numbers aren’t always what people need from you.

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Become well-versed in trends in digital transformation and understand emerging tech tools that will help give your company a competitive advantage by boosting efficiency and reducing risk. The Chief Financial Officer is a staple in the board room, playing a vital role in keeping the company compliant and profitable. Yet, the route to achieving that coveted role can seem confusing, leading many people to feel as though it remains just out of reach. That being said, the bottom line still remains—the role of a CFO is constantly evolving. Changes in technology and the way businesses operate make it difficult to conclude how to be a successful CFO.

Ready to take that leap into one of the hottest roles in the boardroom? No matter your industry, opportunities abound for aspiring chief financial officers. This fast-paced, forward-thinking, and How to Become a CFO in 7 Steps well-paid position will challenge and thrill you every single day. As a CFO, you don’t just help your organization survive a crisis; you should be looking for ways to help it respond and thrive.

Chief Financial Officer Certificates and Courses

Thirdly, education level is also a crucial factor in determining the salary of a CFO. CFOs with advanced degrees such as an MBA, a finance degree, or a CPA certification, typically earn higher salaries than those without. This is because such advanced qualifications demonstrate a higher level of expertise and knowledge in financial management, which is highly valued by employers. The chief financial officer has to bring the team together and lead them forward while balancing financial management. As the architect of an organization’s growth, the best CFOs have to adopt a leadership style aligned with the company’s business model and goals. A chief financial officer serves as a company’s main financial leader.

  • To reach the very top, you’ll need to combine technical and soft skills.
  • After gaining a finance degree or certification, some aspiring CFOs might begin their career as an auditor, financial analyst, or in an accounting department.
  • There are also several professional qualifications that can help your chances of career progression.
  • This C-suite role oversees the work of finance directors and controllers who manage and guide the everyday activities of accounting and finance employees.

To achieve this, they engage in tactical problem-solving, take crucial decisions, and manage relationships with stakeholders. Advanced analytics fuel decision-making, steer your company’s growth curve, and limit instability. While business analytics empower organizations to scale exponentially, CFOs are expected to leverage these analytics to enhance operational value. According to a Robert Half survey, on average, CFOs have nine years of experience in accounting and finance before becoming a CFO and have been employed by three different companies. That means the best CFOs have had the time to become strong leaders and get a firm grasp on essential accounting principles. The FP&A team performs qualitative and quantitative analyses of the company’s financials and measures the progress of the company’s goals.

There are plenty of ways to pursue this kind of job and plenty of CFO training programs that can provide a boost along the way. It’s very possible to get a low-level job at one of these big companies and work your way up, eventually segueing into a role as a CFO somewhere else. To pass the CMA exam, it’s important to develop good study habits, commit to a schedule, and spend at least per week studying. It’s no easy undertaking, but the right study material can help.

  • A chartered financial analyst shares some of the technical expertise of a CPA, but a CPA typically has a much stronger grasp on accounting, taxes, audits, and other skills a CFO needs.
  • Aside from your technical skills, your leadership skills are essential in this role.
  • Here’s what to know about a chief financial officer’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.
  • The postgraduate degree of MBA will prepare you to meet the CFO qualifications by boosting your business knowledge and polishing your leadership and management skills.

Working side-by-side the CEO of any organisation is the Chief Financial Officer, or CFO. Tasked with ensuring the business retains a positive financial outlook, no new undertakings, ventures or partnerships ever happen without the go-ahead from the CFO. Innovation is difficult to quantify on a balance sheet, so here are the techniques you need to communicate its value to finance teams.

What Skills Are Needed to Be a Chief Financial Officer?

Career networks can put you in touch with the right people when you’re ready to become a CFO. Consider the presence of network opportunities when you pursue your MBA or advanced degree. Some programs have career networks which you can leverage while you study. If serving as a CFO is on your professional bucket list, be prepared for the long-haul. According to one interview with a CFO, potential prospects typically have around 10 years of related background and experience before seeking the position.

  • This is because larger companies typically have more complex financial operations, which require a higher level of expertise and experience to manage effectively.
  • So if you’re looking for programs and courses that can equip you to obtain the best career opportunities, choose modern universities that offer education tailored to your needs.
  • Leading strategic decisions and using your financial planning and analysis processes and experience to push beyond the expected.
  • As finance continues to barrel persistently towards automation and digital transformation, CFOs who can envision and champion change become more favorable.
  • The high-level strategies and visioning that drives a company’s financial planning and operations is overseen by the CFO.
  • Of course, there are some reliable expectations a company will have about someone applying for a job at this level.

This amount of work is usually required to prove that you have the right skills and knowledge you need to do the job. Even if you love numbers, the path to CFO is going to include lots of people. This means that you will inevitably be reported to by department heads and you will need to manage teams. They have a decision-making role in areas as diverse as IT, human resources, investor relations, supply chain, and operations. CFOs are also responsible for ensuring financial compliance management is met by their organisation.

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