7 Traits Your Next Chief Financial Officer Should Have

Posted: August 12, 2020

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There are plenty of reasons why your company would have a need for a CFO. Maybe your company has been growing rapidly in a short period of time; or, perhaps you’re finally going public. Sometimes the need arises due to your company’s finances becoming too much to handle.

Whatever the case, hiring a new CFO is a crucial decision that can either lead to more growth (if you hire the right candidate) or financial ruin (if you hire the wrong candidate). This is why it’s important to understand the ideal traits and attributes a CFO should have, so you know when you’ve found the right candidate.


7 Key Traits to Look For in a High-Level CFO


1. Financial Forecasting and Foresight

First and foremost, a high-level CFO should be able to anticipate and plan for critical issues pertaining to financial management. Without this trait –like all of the characteristics on this list — the likelihood your company will be able to build wealth is low.

For instance: if your company has already gone over the set marketing budget for this quarter, the CFO should be able to identify this and ensure the marketing department spends less next quarter to make up the difference.

2. The Ability to Properly Communicate

It’s the CFOs job to analyze and report crucial data and information pertaining to the financial health of the company. Many companies have stakeholders who depend on this information, which is why communication skills are imperative for your CFO to possess.

Additionally, CFOs typically work directly with multiple departments (marketing, sales, accounts payable/receivable etc.) so being able to give clear direction on financial-related problems and solutions is also essential to the role.

3. Competency in Accounting & Finance

One of a CFO’s most important job requirements — thanks to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 — will be to sign off on financial statements for your company and internal control systems that verify their accuracy.

Because of this, your next CFO should have an understanding of the GAAP (or the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and should know specific SEC regulations as they pertain to their company.

4. Deep Understanding of Your Company’s Operations

It goes without saying, but an effective CFO is not simply an individual who can decipher the numbers on a micro level. They need to fully comprehend how your business operates as well.

This allows the CFO to understand and identify key drivers and pain points as they relate to each department within your company; such as sales, marketing, vendors, service providers, research & development (R&D), and more.

5. Risk Assessment Skills

Being able to effectively assess financial risks and make calculated decisions based on those assessments is a must for your CFO.

Every company should be willing to try new things and adapt to trends. With that being said, it’s the CFOs job to ensure these decisions are financially sound. This ensures your company grows the right way, without taking unnecessary risks that could have dire consequences in the near or distant future.


6. The Ability to Set Goals & Manage Financial Expectations

Your CFO will be relied upon to set and maintain financial expectations for numerous parties (investors, stakeholders, analysts, etc.). Because of this, they need to be able to set clear financial goals that are both achievable and relevant to your company as a whole.

Additionally, your CFO needs to be able to measure and track these goals regularly, so they can find any discrepancies or issues and make adjustments accordingly. This key trait can truly make or break the direction of your company’s financial operations, which is why it’s so crucial.

7. Leadership & Confidence

In order to enable your CFO to effectively delegate and superintend key financial operations, they need to have confidence and exceptional leadership qualities.

The most important qualities a good leader should have include:

  • Self-awareness & self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Social/Communication Skills

Find Your Company’s Next Chief Financial Officer

The ideal way to ensure your company finds a high-level CFO is by partnering with a boutique staffing agency for employers in Texas; like Green Lion Search Group.

We specialize in identifying and recruiting qualified talent for executive-level positions (including CFOs, COOs, VPs, and more). Our staffing experts will meet with you to discuss your job requirements and thoroughly research your company to be able to search, identify, and interview the ideal candidates.

While we recruit talent for companies throughout Texas, we primarily focus on San Antonio, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, and Houston. If you’re ready to find a qualified CFO to help grow your business, contact Green Lion Search Group today to get started!