The stereotype of the bean-counter, pure accounting-focused CFO is rapidly changing. Modern CFOs, whether helping small companies grow more efficiently or helping tech startups scale more rapidly, need to bring a broad set of tools.
This article points out the skills gap that exists in traditional accountants-turned-CFOs:
“As chief financial officers’ roles change, a skills gap likely will create a financial leadership shortage.”
Here are some relevant excerpts from the article:
“Today’s CFOs are fulfilling leadership roles with greater depth and breadth than a traditional focus on finances. CFOs have to not only understand how to analyze and control funds but also communicate well, manage relationships, understand value creation and comprehend employee development — and the list of requirements is growing.”
“Ash Noah, vice president of external affairs for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said with demand for these new CFO skill sets rising, the number of qualified applicants for the job is declining rapidly.”
“The ability to communicate, understanding business communication, communicate the essence of the business transaction. … Those are the skills that are lacking,” he said. “In the old days, the CFO would not be thinking about coaching and mentoring, about motiving and inspiring.”
“The CFO is now expected to really be the CEO’s confidant,” Driscoll said. “Everyone wants to be assured of the financial applications. … There’s always competing rationales for competing investments. CFOs need to translate their plans and strategies into financial implications.”