One of the most challenging (and sometimes frustrating) responsibilities of a CFO is to successfully manage his/her relationships and interactions with the Board of Directors.  The influence of a board on the day-to-day responsibilities of a CFO can be complex, and let’s be honest, even a bit dysfunctional at times.

Our speakers 
included:
Scott Evans, Guardian Capital Partners
Scott D. Evans,
Managing Partner,
Guardian Capital
Partners 
John J. Gavin, Operating Partner, LLR Partners
John J. Gavin,
Operating Partner,
LLR Partners
Mary Hoetzel, Cigna
Mary T. Hoeltzel,
Vice President and 
CAO, Corporate 
Accounting,
Cigna 
Paul Snyder, Mannington Mills
Paul Snyder,
SVP and CFO,
Mannington Mills 

In November, The CFO RoundTable Philadelphia presented “Working With Boards and Investors,” where our panel of board members and CFOs discussed the best practices of managing board relationships in good times and bad. From operational tactics to sound strategies, our panel of experts shared their advice and best practices in fostering positive and productive board relationships.

 

We learned:

  • Help Your Board Be Proactive: Save the routine reporting for outside the board meeting. For example, set up a separate conference call with your board to review standard financial information. Further, give them questions and goals to consider before arriving to the board meeting to best leverage their expertise. After all, the value of your board isn’t in reviewing metrics, it’s asking the questions that will benefit the business.
     
  • Always Build Your Relationships: Trust deepens the better you get to know someone. As the CFO, it’s up to you to build and nurture your relationship with your board members. Invite them to out to eat, call them for advice, and so on. The board is supposed to be your support network – yes, they have a governing duty, but you have access and a pipeline to talk to these folks as appropriate.
     
  • Keep The Disagreements Out Of The Boardroom: While you may disagree from time to time with your CEO or other members of your executive team, for the sake of your job preservation, never disagree with them publicly in the boardroom.
     
  • Don’t Sugarcoat Anything: If you have to present bad news to your board, get it out there quickly in the board meeting. Don’t sugarcoat the issue, and don’t make excuses. Further, if you don’t have the answer, tell the board that you don’t, but that you have a plan to find a solution. 

Photos and More Information

For more information on this or any of the upcoming events The CFO RoundTable has planned, please click here.

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