The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), has a multitude of responsibilities within an organization, with nearly all of them being related to significant financial decisions. The combination of these detail-oriented tasks as well as administrative duties means that the CFO plays a vital role in ensuring that the company is running optimally as well as setting a positive example for others through leadership.
With a sophisticated understanding of the business landscape, Shawn Khorrami, the Founder of Khorrami Consulting, has a list of five skills that are mandatory for any CFO to be successful.
1. Knowing the Essentials
With so many responsibilities, it is only natural that CFOs be acutely aware of the inner workings of a company, having access to important first-hand information. However, the essence of this skill does not end with being able to examine material and churn numbers and formulas. It is equally important for a CFO to be able to effectively evaluate and translate data into the essential drivers within the company that will pave the way to success.
Knowledgeability is the key, namely the ability to differentiate the financial essentials from the rest of the information so that everyone within the company can see what strategies need to be emphasized.
2. Planning Ahead
With an awareness of the present clearly in mind, a CFO also needs to be knowledgeable of what lies ahead for the company. This skill comes in the form of being able to establish goals based on existing information, while carefully balancing ambitious objectives with a sense of realism.
In addition, a highly-effective CFO also needs to be able to craft a vision for the company, a set of ideals that is in line with the current standard but nonetheless sets a firmly-established standard that will keep everyone on the same page and highly motivated to do whatever they can to see goals met. This is not only essential for the internal operations of the company, but in dealing with and responding to various stakeholders, such as investors, shareholders, and lenders.
3. Seeing the Bigger Picture
Aside from having a thorough understanding of the inner workings of the company, an effective CFO is also able to see the business chain function from start to finish. Working their way from supply to demand, CFOs have a direct line to the customer experience, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the current quality of this experience is heard by the company. In this way, the CFO plays a crucial role in helping their superiors see the factors that are functioning well, as well as the ones that need immediate course-correction.
4. Overseeing Talent Development
With the position of CFO being senior-level, it is only natural that mentorship is part of the role. As such, the skill of talent development proves invaluable here, as the CFO is ideally placed to evaluate the competencies of the individuals that he or she works with regularly. In this way, the notion of the CFO being detail-oriented, trusted with handling financial proceedings responsibly, is just as applicable towards talent development: Being able to identify the personal strengths and weaknesses of an individual, going so far as to see beneath the surface and find hidden talents is an enormous benefit to any company.
5. Setting A Great Example for Employees
Lastly, it is imperative for any CFO to have an awareness that as an administrative representative of the company, they will be scrutinized on the example they set for others. This is why it is so important for a CFO to know exactly how to set the best example possible, whether it is through the quality of their communication, the relationships they choose to maintain, or the integrity of their work ethic.
Overall, managing these factors can be a balancing act, but the key motivational factor for an aspiring CFO is knowing that the positive example they set will, in turn, inspire others to impact the company in a positive way. Shawn Khorrami claims that individuals who set the bar high are continuously working to better themselves both personally and professionally.
As a serial entrepreneur, Shawn Khorrami has strongly developed skills of both adaptability as well as tenacity, having handled many large-scale legal cases in addition to starting up and investing in businesses within a variety of industries.