Just think about it. What comes to mind when you think of a stereotypical Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a company? Perhaps someone who is a number-cruncher, process-driven, and well-versed in all means of financial reporting. Well, you may be right, but being a CFO is more than that. All CFOs possess some unique traits that can be useful for those who aspire to be a smart CEO.
Smart CEOs Wear Different Hats
In a big company, a CFO’s job also involves measuring and managing the organization’s financial risks, financial planning, and allocation. But most businesses are small and medium scale enterprises and do not have the resources to hire a CFO. So they either outsource their financial, tax, and accounting processes (e.g., bookkeeping, tax filing, billing, invoicing and financial reporting).
Related Article: Why You Should Outsource Your Accounting
Also, it’s up to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to take up the CFO role, be responsible for major financial decisions, and spearhead aspects of financial reporting and growth strategy.
But before we study the types of CFOs smart CEOs can learn from, let’s look at a recent survey by Epicor Software. In it, they surveyed over 1,500 financial experts. Afterwards, Epicor categorised CFOs in six general patterns that are based on how they behave, interact, and execute their decisions.
These patterns include the following: politicians – 27% (methodical, believe strongly in a team-based approach), revolutionaries – 19% (willing to consider a change in culture and structures as needs arise), carers – 19% (will delay a decision if there is a risk of mistakes), conductors – 16% (willing to bend the rules and work outside of normal systems and processes), traditionalists – 9% (always work inside of existing systems, and immune to reputations and personalities guiding their decision-making process), and visionaries – 9% (works completely outside of formal systems, and willing to bank on their own experiences and intuition during the decision-making process).
Which one of these is the best for an organisation, you ask? “None” is the answer.
Whether you need your CFO (or CEO, for the purpose of this article) to be a politician, revolutionary, visionary, or just a traditionalist, depends on which sector you are operating in and what stage your company is: early-stage, mid-stage, or at an accelerated growth stage.
4 CFO Traits CEOs Can Learn From
There are four very important traits that a CFO must have. These traits must also be adopted by every CEO who is also looking after the CFO functions in the company.
These include the two traditional roles of being a steward and an operator. These include running a tight and efficient financial operation, ensuring compliance with financial regulations, financial planning and analysis, taxation, preserving the company’s assets, and minimising the risks while maximising the profits.
The two additional, more modern roles are being a strategist and a catalyst. These include helping shape the overall company strategy and its future direction, devising sound capital market financing strategies, driving business improvement initiatives, and initiating action for the optimum financial growth of the organisation.
Related Article: Learn How to Drive Growth with Comprehensive Advisory Services
Becoming a smart CEO in Singapore
So whether you look at the old-fashioned CFO, tech-savvy one, analytical thinker, strategist or disruptive kind, a CEO operating without a CFO must look to embody multiple attributes and try to function as a particular type of CFO depending on the situation of the company.
Or, you could outsource your financial services to one of Singapore’s leading corporate services provider – Singapore Tax and Accounting. We can help you pay close attention to accounting and bookkeeping. Also, we’ll help you achieve a sound financial management of your company by making data-driven decisions. We can also help smart CEOs in Singapore become smarter by helping identify growth opportunities, M&A deals, business expansion, and partnerships.
Be a smart CEO.
We can help you gain valuable tax, finance, and accounting knowledge via our advisory services.