5 Skills Businesses Want in A CFO

The modern-day CFOs have a more elaborate role in making businesses thrive than just managing finances. They have to foster a broad skillset and must evolve continuously to stay on top of their game. That includes adapting to technology, interpreting market trends, risk analysis, and much more.

All these requirements have made the process of picking out the right candidate for the job more challenging. Recruiters often have to go to lengths during one-on-one interviews to find out if the individual is cut out for this role or not. And even then, they don’t always hit the mark. But individuals pursuing a career in this field still need to develop particular skills and personality traits. These are highly coveted by companies and make a significant difference during the selection process.

Here are five of these skills companies want in a CFO that you need to enhance with practice and experience. These should help you tap into any industry and propel your career in the right direction. However, many companies prefer the alternative of passing on these tasks altogether. They find an external entity and use the services of outsourced CFO to get their job done. Since they already have a skilled staff at their disposal and offer a complete range of tasks, including taxation and accounting, it is much more efficient to bring them onboard. Besides, it takes a lot off your plate and helps you focus on more important things as a business.

Data Analytics

As the CFO, one of your top responsibilities will be to use the resources available to determine financial proceedings. That includes taking the old inputs and using their results to make reasonable judgments. You will be reviewing company objectives and finding out if the investments were fruitful or not. In the process, you will also be looking into the productivity of these investments. That should help outline if the business could make changes or improvements to its existing practices.

Additionally, you will also be making future investment plans and budget drafts with varying feasibilities. These will give your superiors a variety of choices and the flexibility to focus more on a particular element. That should help decide the future course of the business and estimate the revenue you can generate.

Risk Analysis & Management

Every business has multiple risks and challenges associated with it, waiting for the right moment to disrupt the workflow. CFOs know this whenever they are evaluating plans or reviewing proposals. Some of them can factor it adequately, while others make mistakes and pay the price for it. That’s what makes risk analysis and management a crucial skill for CFOs.

When working for a company, you need to analyze the percentage of returns and possible losses for any seen/unforeseen occurring. That includes changes in weather, holidays, employee productivity, and several other aspects. You should know that it’s nearly impossible to come up with a full-proof plan, but the objective is to come as close to it as possible.

For instance, you need to think about what happens when the first couple of variations of your plans flop. The numbers are not meeting your expectations, and you are failing to meet expected deadlines. Preparing detailed contingency plans for these scenarios will help with efficient risk management and grant you a safer playing field.

Swift Use of Technology

Man in Black Holding Phone

The world is evolving, and technology is becoming more and more relevant with every passing day. It applies to the role of CFOs, as they have an increasing need to incorporate technology to maximize work efficiency. Not only does this help with efficient bookkeeping, storage, and management, but also when highlighting patterns and trends.

Present-day computational capabilities and software come prepared to perform a handful of tasks. CFOs can use them to get a head start on their work and minimize the window of reaching reliable conclusions. And on top of it, the margin for error is significantly less while using technology compared to manual operations. That’s why businesses prefer using these resources and favors the candidates who showcase expertise in these areas.

Teamwork & Staff Collaboration

CFOs operate from a position of authority, but that keeps them at a disadvantage while addressing ground realities. For times like these, you need to be in touch and managing the staff efficiently.

The front-line workers have better insights and perceptions related to work which CFOs can use while making assumptions and deductions. They can help to point out the optimal amount of workload the workforce can bear. That, in turn, will allow better scheduling of projects and quoting accurate deadlines. Besides, they also have a better idea of order sizes when it comes to stocking inventory. They face problems and occurrences first hand and know the margins for error better than most.

But, most importantly, taking their opinions make them feel empowered and work with more dedication. They can find CFOs to be approachable individuals and voice their concerns openly, which is excellent to maximize productivity. That is also why businesses are seeking individuals with exceptional teamwork and collaboration skills.

Decision Making

Decision-making is a significant aspect of a CFOs job. They encounter various scenarios where they have to come up with a verdict that’s affecting the project drastically. In times like these, indecisiveness can prove costly. That is why companies prefer candidates who can crunch numbers and combine their analytical skills with critical thinking to pick the best course of action.

Pursuing a career in this field, you will find that you will often save the business from a wrong turn or drowning it. In any case, you will have immense responsibility on your shoulders, so you need to be prepared for it. Otherwise, you might find yourself struggling and at a disadvantage.


These were the five skills businesses want in a CFO when reviewing candidate profiles. Having most or all of them, combined with other abilities, makes you a top-notch candidate for the job. So while tailoring yourself for this job, try to give them extra attention to better adapt to your roles.