Successful chief financial officers all share at least nine important characteristics that go well beyond crunching numbers.

For instance, such CFOs are leaders and they communicate well with all company stakeholders.

Most of the chief characteristics are inter-related.

Here are nine characteristics of successful CFOs:

1. Cash generation

Not to over-simplify, a focus on expense management and revenue growth is the CFO’s most important responsibility for long-term sustainability.

The free Federal Reserve funds won’t last forever. Consistency in cash generation counts most.

Right decision-making is important to take the best-possible initiatives to advance revenue growth.

In turn, the revenue must result in strong cash flow and earnings by utilizing resources and managing expenses. And strategic decisions are needed to maximize value from the cash generation.

2. Development of value-based culture

By developing a value-based culture, the company’s culture will understand value drivers and key performance indicators.

There are two benefits from a value-based culture – the company will prosper, and the CFO becomes trusted as a C-suite partner in creating business strategy for financial growth.

3. Intense pursuit of accuracy and transparency

Financial leadership necessitates anticipating obstacles and issues, and being proactive in searching for accuracy.

So carefully follow the money’s path and know everyone’s role in the company.

4. Work with real-time speed and accuracy

The Digital Age has prompted a dynamic, fast-changing competitive environment. This requires a grounding and management of real-time data.

This will enhance your vision and ability to fully understand your strategic paths.

5. Maximize resources by leaving the office

To create opportunities for growth, the CFO should have a full understanding of how value is created for profits.

So the CFO must frequently leave the office to visit the company’s operations – to best understand how money and time is invested to create value.

6. Laser-like focus on obtaining a return on investments

A laser-like focus on ROI is necessary.

It’s important to examine the needs of the company be prepared to take risks, but minimize risks in order to be certain goals are met.

7. Master in communications

It’s not enough to know and crunch the numbers. A great CFO connects with stakeholders – from the team and bosses to customers.

Become expert in verbal and written communications starting with your team. Provide as much information as possible.

Show leadership – give authority and the tools of responsibility to your team members so they can be held accountable. Only in this way will your firm benefit from their strong performances.

8. Understand customers’ motives

Learn how your customers succeed in making money. That’s how you’ll determine how to create value that they’ll appreciate.

A CFO should understand to whom the company caters, its key financial drivers and the company’s competitive advantages.

9. Replicate yourself

In a sense, make yourself replaceable. Train a key employee to learn every facet of your job so you can delegate.

This will free you to focus on the big picture and initiatives that will enhance your business growth.

From the Coach’s Corner, here additional relevant CFO tips:

CFO Strategies – Using Data for Success as a C-Suite Partner — In order to become credible partners in the C-suite, CFOs are under significant pressure to gather and analyze data to minimize expenses and facilitate profits for sustainable growth.

Benefits, Precautions in Issuing Business Credit Cards to Employees — Business credit cards are easy, cost-effective ways to control expenses. They’re a great small business tool to pay expenses and to manage your cash. Indeed, there are dos and don’ts to remember in case you’re one of those entrepreneurs who trust your employees to use a company credit card.

10 Best Tech Strategies for Stronger Financial Results — Businesses that use 10 digital best practices are achieving stronger financial results than those that don’t.

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

Best Practices to Capitalize on Business Intelligence — In the majority of situations BI isn’t effectively used to identify and create opportunities for sustainable growth, according to Forrester Research. Here are the best practices in BI.

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Bill Gates


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.