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Top Traits Your Next CFO Needs

~6min reading time
Two business man working on their laptops and smiling.

As a business owner, you wear many hats. You're the visionary, the salesperson, and often, by necessity, the accountant. But when your company reaches a certain point of growth, the demands of managing finances become too complex to juggle alongside everything else.

That's the moment you need to hire a CFO (Chief Financial Officer). It's a big move and finding the right person to trust with your company's financial health can be difficult.

In this article, we explore the most important traits to look for when hiring your first CFO and the tools they require to excel at their new role. 

What Does a CFO Do?

First, let’s take a quick look at what exactly a CFO does and how they can add value to your company.

A CFO is the person responsible for overseeing a company's financial health and strategies. They handle everything from budgeting, financial reporting, and risk management to analysing data to guide the company's direction. A CFO works closely with the CEO and other business leaders to ensure sound financial decisions are made that drive growth, minimise risks, and achieve long-term goals.

How Do You Choose The Right CFO?

Choosing the right CFO is crucial, as they'll be a key player in shaping your company's financial future. While all CFOs will possess financial expertise, the ideal candidate for your business depends on your specific needs, business goals, and values.

Here are some general key traits to consider when making your selection during the hiring process:

  • Strategic mindset: Seek a CFO who sees finance as a tool for driving strategic growth, not just controlling costs.
  • Proven experience: Look for a CFO with a track record of success in companies of a similar size to yours.
  • Tech-savvy: A CFO with a digital skillset will drastically improve your bottom line by switching out old-fashioned, manual finance processes for streamlined, cost-effective solutions.
  • Good communicator: Strong communication skills are crucial for relaying finance jargon and key insights to you, the board, and other department heads.
  • Growth-oriented: Find a CFO with a drive for improvement and a keen eye for spotting new opportunities.

In a nutshell, your CFO should be a proactive, strategic business partner and not just a number cruncher. They should be able to see the big picture, collaborate across departments, and use financial insights to help you reach your goals.

Now, let’s do a deep dive into the top three traits that will make or break the success of your new CFO.

Top Three Traits to Look For in a CFO

1. Operational Understanding

A great CFO doesn't just crunch numbers in isolation. They should have a clear understanding of how your company's operations function and be able to use this knowledge to pinpoint inefficiencies, identify areas where costs can be reduced, and make strategic recommendations to improve profitability. A CFO who gets their hands dirty with the operational details can offer far more valuable insights than one who stays glued to spreadsheets.

2. Tech-Savvy

In today's digital era, a CFO needs to be technologically adept. It's less about knowing every single software inside and out and more about understanding how modern technology can upgrade finance tasks, provide real-time insights, and identify ways to reduce cost and risk.

For example, look for a CFO with the skills to replace old-fashioned processes with digital expense management tools that can reduce the mountain of work associated with tasks such as business expenses, budget forecasting, and more.

3. Creative Problem-Solving

The best CFOs bring a creative flair to their financial expertise. They aren't simply bean counters reacting to problems – they're proactive solution finders. A creative CFO can analyse financial variances and identify the blockers to profitability. They can think outside the box, negotiate effectively with clients and suppliers, and devise innovative strategies to improve the company's financial health. This creativity is especially valuable during challenging times, ensuring sustainability, and paving the way for long-term growth.

What Tools Will Your CFO Need to Succeed?

Arming your CFO with the right tools to help them excel at their new position with your company is crucial for success. But there are so many programs out there so how do you know which one is the best and most cost-effective?

Tools such as CleverCards prepaid digital Mastercards are a top choice among business owners and CFOs because they streamline not only business expenses and allowances, but also employee benefits and gifting, Revenue reporting requirements, and finance analytics.

Here’s a snapshot of how CleverCards can boost your CFO’s productivity and success in their new role:

  • Track and manage spending across the entire business and ensure alignment with the budget and business goals.
  • Identify and address any issues or anomalies in spending, such as overspending, fraud, or non-compliance, and take corrective actions quickly and effectively.
  • Gain insights and trends on spending patterns, behaviours, and preferences, and use them to optimise spending efficiency.
  • Improve communication and collaboration with stakeholders, such as managers, employees, vendors, and auditors, by providing them with accurate and timely information and feedback on spending.
  • Enhance decision-making and planning by using data-driven and evidence-based approaches.

The best part is that businesses new to CleverCards can get set up within 24 hours so your CFO can instantly start the process of improving your financial strategy and implementing cost-effective, quick-wins.

Learn more about using CleverCards to manage business expenses, streamline per diem allowances, reduce finance admin and eliminate Revenue Reporting Requirements.