All great CEOs want a CFO who will help them drive results. They are looking for what I call an “operating” CFO, that is, someone who will get involved in the business and positively influence outcomes.
Some CFO mistakenly view their role too narrowly. They think their job is just to accurately report results. That is important, and a core part of the job, but insufficient. To become a more effective and valuable CFO you’ve got to broaden your focus.
When I conduct a CFO search for our clients, I am looking for someone who sees their role as being responsible (alongside the CEO) for delivering outperformance. I want to hear multiple, concrete examples in the interview of how the CFO candidate identified an issue or opportunity early, took action, and drove a superior outcome. I’m listening for what the CFO did specifically and probing to assess if he or she was just along for the ride or was actually in the forefront steering the initiative and persevered.
In particular, I’m looking for six things … and so are the CEOs and board members who will ultimately be speaking with those candidates that make it past my screening. If you’re not doing these things today, make a shift and take your game up a notch.
Keep in mind, all six are necessary, miss one and you’re missing the mark.