Hacking the CFO Profile

In my professional network, I know about a dozen CFOs, and as my ambitions after my MBA also go into that direction, I thought it would be a good idea to have a good look at their CVs. And…what better place to check people’s profile than on Linkedin? Thus, nerdy as I am, I copied their profiles and look what I got: CFO profile Of course, I took out a lot of nonsensical stuff, names of people and places, and obvious terms like ‘Finance’ and ‘Management’. After this sifting, this is what I am left over with. Let’s have a decent view on what this tells us.

  • Titles: Obviously, anyone’s keen to call themselves CFO. What is very clear in this picture, is that most CFO’s have had multiple roles. Most frequently as directors, sometimes as VPs or just ‘leaders‘, very often in a ‘group‘ function. What is quite baffling, is the low frequency of the ‘controller‘ profile, which is no more important than an ‘accounting‘ job.
  • So 2 takeaways: if you want to become CFO: have some proof of leadership and seek to lead a ‘group’ of businesses.
  • Skills: secondly, let’s look at the skills these people portray to have. Most prominent are ‘planning‘ and ‘development‘. Secondly, everything connected to ‘analysis‘ and ‘strategic‘ apparently adds to the CV as well. ‘Reporting‘ as well as ‘administration‘ seems to be a less crucial skill. Also ‘projects‘ rate alarmingly low on the CFO profile!
  • So the takeaway from this is: make sure to be doing consistenly forward-looking tasks.
  • Profile: finally, what else do we see? Hobbies seem to be absent in a CFO’s life, although that might be due to the discreet nature of the average finance guy. More importantly, a ‘University‘ degree comes in handy, as well as having done an ‘International‘, ‘Responsible‘ and ‘Technology‘ related role.
  • Big losers in this popularity contest? ‘Legal’, ‘board’ and any mention of ERP systems. An occasional mention of sales or customer occurs but clearly the cross-over to other roles or functions does not happen. Also, any M&A related task seems to be less important as well.

There you go, now I shared my holy grail to pimp up that CV and get that CFO job. As usual, share, retweet and comment the h*ll out of this article. Let’s all learn something today!


About curiousmanager

In life there are generalists and specialists. Although your job pushes you down towards a certain specialization, I feel it's important to keep your eyes and mind open for new stimuli. And I want to share my journey through arts, literature and sciences with other knowledge workers and managers. You don't have time to read. Let me do that for you and present only the best of the best in my blog!
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2 Responses to Hacking the CFO Profile

  1. Aldek says:

    First of all,i t’s a great post. The question you asked was the one I was asking myself many times.
    Secondly, I’m surprised that controlling and reporting is not so popular. I guess it is because both these areas are obvious and default competences for CFO, so it is nothing special to mention. But honestly speaking I don’t feel that CFO with no reporting / controlling background is a good one.
    Generally, it seems that CFO try to prove that they are better than just FINANCIAL and may provide some added value for the organisation they are in. That is why no mentioning about key tasks and emphasising more “sparkling” buzzwords like leadership, strategy or international.
    BTW, it would be great to look at that kind of research of CEO and COO.

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