Ten Keys to CFO Success

By Allan Tepper, Co-founder and Senior Managing Partner, CFO Consulting Partners LLC

I am often asked what critical elements are needed for CFO success. While there are no guarantees, here are ten questions that may help determine the answer. The more YES answers, the better.

  1. Are you an active and respected member of your Senior Management Team?
  2. Can you/do you talk frequently and fluently to the senior management team about the key drivers of your business (i.e., volumes, ratios, pricing, etc.), and about the external variables affecting the business (i.e., the economy, the industry trends, the competitors, the risks, etc.)?
  3. Is your department adequately staffed with high quality people, and is the staff viewed as efficient and internally-client driven?
  4. When you report bad news, are you criticized? Have you put practices in place to identify and mitigate risks, so that when bad news happens, it is reported as one of the identified risks that went south?
  5. Is your day-to-day department well managed? Do you provide your services quickly and in a quality manner? Is your own office neat and well organized? Do you consistently work more than 10-hour days?
  6. Do you feel more like a guiding light to growth and profitability than a policeman in your company?
  7. Do you ever lose track of the fact that both internal and external customer satisfaction is Job Number 1?
  8. Would your boss say you think like a businessperson – growth, profitability, ROE, empowerment, motivation, a prudent amount of risk taking, etc.? Would they say you strike the right balance between the big picture and the details?
  9. Have you implemented a sound planning, budgeting and forecasting process? If so, do you have monthly or quarterly meetings with the profit center leaders to review results and identify risks?
  10. Is your audit or review completed within four months after the end of your fiscal year?