By Bradford Jones, CPA, CVA, CMA, CFF

A financial controller, lead accountant, or CFO can be the backbone that supports your organization. In addition to serving as a steward who maintains the company’s assets by accurately compiling financials and minimizing risks, a CFO must also function as a strategist and a catalyst for growth.

In today’s complex economic landscape, the CFO role is rapidly evolving and expanding to encompass more responsibilities and satisfy a broader range of stakeholders.

Whether you are recognizing your growing company needs a CFO or your trusted CFO has decided to move on, finding a qualified person to fill that role certainly isn’t easy.

Organizations are competing for finance chiefs who have:

  • Leadership qualities
  • Experience collaborating across the organization
  • Proven track records of deploying and managing important initiatives

Too often, however, companies think that existing team members can step up and fill this role. But even if an organization finds an employee who really wants to step up, they’ll need to ensure the employee possesses the above prerequisites to step into a role that is truly having a moment.

The New CFO Mandate

Before thinking about finding the right CFO and building a strong and effective team around that CFO, let’s reflect upon where the finance and accounting (F&A) function will need to take your unique organization.

For years, the role of CFO has been expanding in scope. No matter how large or small your organization may be, the CFO must:

  • Be agile enough to adapt their skill sets to a constantly evolving world
  • Assert leadership to accelerate a digital agenda
  • Have experience collaborating with departments outside the F&A function
  • Optimize risk management processes to maintain competitive advantage

Because today’s marketplace is changing so rapidly, the role of CFO has far greater significance than it once had. With the need for digital fluency, analytical rigor, and agile leadership, many businesses are overhauling F&A processes to improve how they:

  • Identify, clean, aggregate, and share data
  • Empower data-driven decision-making
  • Cultivate productivity
  • Audit the existing hiring process

To successfully address this expanded CFO mandate, organizations are putting together new playbooks for how they anticipate change, accelerate growth, and drive value for stakeholders. And to accomplish all of this, those organizations will need a high-performing team to support the new CFO.

3 Ways to Build a High-Performing F&A Team Around a New CFO

Minimize Uncertainty Around Change

Help your new CFO build a cohesive F&A team by managing change uncertainty. A few ways to accomplish this include:

  • Providing the CFO with resources and support in addition to objectives
  • Establishing open communication so employees are in the loop about the transition and any changes to their role answered in an honest manner
  • Seeking and acting on feedback from employees
  • Adopting an innovative approach for acquiring cutting-edge capabilities; e.g., perhaps a strategic alliance with an external provider to modernize skills and upgrade talent

Use the Transition as an Opportunity to Prioritize Top Talent

Talent drives innovation. And right now the talent pool is shallow.

Organizations that have skilled employees must find new ways to engage, excite, and retain them. This is especially true for top performers in your finance and accounting department.

Nurture your F&A team by emphasizing what’s called Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

EVP is the value that your organization offers to each employee. EVP answers these questions for the employee with a resounding “yes”:

  • Do I have opportunities to learn and grow?
  • How do I feel about my role and the work I do?
  • Am I working on initiatives I care about?

Redesigning the finance and accounting function will be disruptive. But for many organizations, disruption is often very beneficial. By taking advantage of this opportunity to transform the employee experience, you could be making an investment that will change the trajectory of your organization.

Consider All Your Options During the CFO Search

Let’s begin with this: In today’s hiring climate, it’s going to be tough to find a CFO with experience in your industry.

Not only is there an accounting labor shortage. CFO candidates with the necessary financial, analytical, and interpersonal skills are few and far between. In fact, Bloomberg recently called CFOs the “hottest property in the job market right now.”

According to Brandi Britton, executive director for the finance and accounting practice at Robert Half International, “87% of finance and accounting managers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the talent they need for general accounting, financial reporting, and financial planning and analysis.” 

Building a successful F&A team means finding the right person — or people — to run point. Organizations that think outside the box and consider all options when searching for someone to fill the CFO role will be most successful.

So, it’s not surprising that our clients keep asking what they can do to address today’s talent gap. One solution we are consistently discussing is FAO — finance and accounting outsourcing.

With FAO, your business can transfer some — or all — of its finance and accounting processes or functions to an external service provider.

By outsourcing finance and accounting functions to a CPA with experience in your industry, you can realize several benefits in addition to simply filling the CFO role, including:

  • Significantly improving back-office processes
  • Driving efficiency for processes like purchasing, sales, and employee expense reports
  • Uncovering financial insights that can increase performance of the core business
  • Focusing more attention and resources on core areas of the business
  • Enabling employees to focus more time on initiatives they feel excited about
  • Spending more time on strategic tax planning

Learn More

Growth-oriented companies that secure the right leader in their F&A function will find a partner who can efficiently recruit and manage high-performing and agile teams that are consistently able to integrate and leverage new technology. Plus, these companies will begin uncovering insights that inform strategic decision-making and transform planning, forecasting, and budgeting processes.

Contact Brad Jones today to learn more about what you and your organization can accomplish when you outsource your accounting and finance functions.