Recruiting, Talent

Expert Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Chief Financial Officers

In a tight labor market, recruiting top talent is tough, and even more so when you’re looking to recruit executive roles. But fear not, we’ve got an expert who is sharing some tips to help you recruit and retain a Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

CFO

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As the Managing Director of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley office of Stanton Chase, a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Cofounder of the Global CFO practice, Paul Herrerias has developed an expertise in recruiting CFOs. Stanton Chase is a globally retained executive search firm with more than 70 offices in 45 countries.
In part one of this article series, Herrerias will highlight his experiences in recruiting, coaching, and hiring these executives. Some of these opinions are anecdotal in nature, and most of them are actual comments made by CFOs, CEOs, or board members during the recruiting process for companies of all sizes and in many countries.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: What are some of your observations regarding what truly engages CFOs in their role within an organization?
Herrerias: CFOs cite having a close relationship with CEOs, bonding with the leadership team, being perceptive of personal and professional growth, and feeling responsible for their organization’s success as key factors influencing their retention in and commitment to an organization. A fully engaged CFO is often seen enthusiastically focusing on implementation of the strategic plan and rallying other leaders to do the same.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: Could you please drill down a bit on this issue?
Herrerias: Certainly. A constant theme is that CFOs want a significant role in designing, communicating, and delivering on the organizations’ strategic plan. CFOs and CEOs drive the strategic plan across all departments and functions. CFOs must grasp the vision, believe in its achievability, and arm and inspire other department leaders to do the same through budgeting, performance reporting, and collaborating.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: In your experience, what is the CFO’s role in molding the strategic plan?
Herrerias: The CFO brings the plan to life, defines each department’s contribution to it, and provides ongoing feedback and metrics on progress and variances. The CFO supports the CEO’s role of setting the plan and holding all departments accountable.
This responsibility across all departments is unique to the CFO role over other department leaders. A great CFO knows how every department functions and which resources are needed to be efficient, supports those processes, and provides feedback that allows each departmental leader to be effective.  A trusting relationship is key to being effective without being perceived as pushy, demanding, or political.  Great CFOs keep everyone on the same team and strategic plan, physically and emotionally.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: From what you’re saying, it appears as though today’s CFOs must have an expanded skill set to implement the strategic plan, which frequently involves managing a global business. Is this accurate?
Herrerias: It sure is. The CFO’s importance has grown due to the pervasiveness of technology in every aspect of the business, increasing risks and threats to business security, fluctuating international commerce and consumer preferences, and increasing reliance on sophisticated digital tools allowing for more accurate analysis of trends for increased marketplace competitiveness.
Each department leader is faced with new challenges in technology, security, data utilization, mobility, shifting competition, and regulatory requirements. Great CFOs stay abreast of those changes and support other members of the leadership team in meeting today’s challenges.
Recruiting Daily Advisor: Could you touch on issues related to global challenges?
Herrerias: Current and future CFOs have or will have skills both inside and outside of the traditional CFO role. For example, a CFO today must be able to deal with a continually changing global financial environment that can include drastically fluctuating borrowing costs and currencies, digital tools and threats, trade patterns, tariffs, supply-chain shifts, and the consequences of political and social unrest. In today’s competitive marketplace, it is critical to recruit a CFO who can navigate complex global challenges.
Using Herrerias’ tips, outlined above, you’ll land a CFO in no time. However, make sure you’re properly onboarding this new hire, otherwise you may drive him or her out. In tomorrow’s post, Herrerias will offer some tips and best practices for effectively onboarding your new CFO.
Author's namePaul Herrerias is the Managing Director of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley office of Stanton Chase, a globally retained executive search firm with more than 70 offices in 45 countries. He cofounded the Global CFO practice and currently leads the Professional Services-North America/Latin America Industry Practice Group. Herrerias earned a master’s degree in Human Resources and Organization Development and a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco, as well as a CPA license in the state of California.