The New Jersey CFO Leadership CouncilThroughout the past decade the role of the CFO has dramatically changed from a behind the scenes financial guru to a forward thinking team leader, involved in all aspects of company operations and strategies. And, as today’s business environment and technology evolve, all CFOs must keep up with the fast moving times.

On October 13 The New Jersey CFO Leadership Council presented its first official speaker event, The Habits of Highly Successful CFOs, a program that focused on some of the most essential traits needed and expected for long term success.

Our Speakers Were:

Here’s What We Learned:

Create An Environment Of Trust

The first step to successful leadership is building relationships and developing trust. Adhere to an open door policy and listen to your employees. Encourage them to speak freely to you and voice their opinions. Make sure that they are not afraid to question company numbers. Get to know and understand all of your employees and invite them to interact and serve as critical components of the business. And, most important, keep everyone informed about any organizational changes and always remind yourself that your role is leader first, financial officer second.

Get Involved In All Aspects Of Your Business

The best CFOs are the ones who make it a priority to be in the middle of company issues at all times, attending sales and marketing meetings, visiting customers, and going on plant tours. It was agreed that far too much time is spent simply reviewing updates rather than asking questions and generating discussions. As a CFO, you must expand your horizons. Fully comprehend the analysis behind financial decisions, anticipate potential company problems and risks, be readily available to address concerns, offer constructive feedback, and always be prepared to implement solutions. Simply stated, go beyond the call of duty, be fully aware of internal operations, and, if necessary, help to reshape the company’s direction.

Be A Talent Magnet

Retaining and bringing in talent is essential to any growing organization and a significant part of a CFO’s role. As one of our panelists stated, it’s not your financial expertise that will get you ahead, it’s your ability to help the “leadership pipeline” by adding value to your company. However, as your organizational needs evolve, so does the definition of “value”.  As a result, you must constantly evaluate your overall goals and make plenty of time for external networking and talent searches. And, in your hiring process, advocate a team approach. 

Embrace Change

As a dedicated CFO you should always look to the future, with a balance of long and short term goals, and never allow your company to become stagnant and ingrained in old behaviors. You must be the voice of your organization and the one who is always pushing and advocating for change. Then, once modifications are in place, concentrate on establishing top priorities, effectively communicating them, and making sure that they are executed. Also, consider the new roles and projects being implemented and keep your employees focused on the reasons and advantages for these opportunities. And, above all, think beyond numbers and continually develop your role as a visionary leader.

For more information on maximizing your success as a CFO, we encourage you to take a look at some of related articles:

We also invite you to join us on Tuesday, November 10 for our next New Jersey event, Cyber Security: Practical Protection for the Modern Age. This program will feature security experts and CFOs who will discuss how all companies, regardless of size and industry, can deploy and manage emerging technologies while ensuring a strong security posture. 

Space is limited, so don’t miss out.  Register today.

For further details on any of our upcoming programs and chapter updates, please contact us.  We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.