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This Is How to Hire the Right CFO

By June 9, 2023Blog
Chief Financial Officer Executive Search

A standout chief financial officer can help your company remain competitive and also strengthen your company’s revenue and profitability potential for the next phase of your business. But how do you evaluate high quality CFO candidates, and determine which candidate will best fit the needs of your organization? 

Our guide to hiring the best CFO will help you understand the key qualities and attributes to look for in the top tier of CFO candidates. Continue reading to learn more about the chief financial officer executive search process. 

What To Look For in a CFO

In addition to the core responsibilities of a CFO, the best chief financial officers are also strategists. Their ability to analyze the company’s financial well-being, understand market and competitive conditions, and uncover new opportunities for the company can mean the difference between stagnant performance and growth for a company.

Extensive Financial Experience 

Top CFOs have extensive financial experience across all aspects of their role as well as expertise in financial modeling. They are also adept at using their financial expertise to create meaningful solutions. They think outside the box, while obeying all financial rules and statutes. 

Accountable and Has a Strong Ethical Code

The best CFOs are honest and accountable. They have a strong character and ethical code. Their actions speak for themselves. Their leadership style is also a model of the qualities that they build into their teams. 

When recruiting for a new CFO, it is vital to make sure you hire a candidate who has the right intentions and understands the responsibility placed on them and their direct reports.  

Has Leadership Qualities 

Great CFOs are leaders by nature. They know how to interact with employees at all levels and motivate them to do their best work. They are mentors to members of their team and desire to build strong, collaborative accounting and finance teams. They understand how to challenge employees to achieve company goals and also have the ability to empathize with them. 

Chief Financial Officer Executive Search 

Explore and research multiple candidates and ask thoughtful questions. Get to know the candidates, their values, and what they can bring to the table. Questions to consider asking include: 

  • What core values define you as a professional?
  • How do you create a financial strategy for a company? 
  • In your view, what are the biggest challenges facing our company this year? In the next 5 years?
  • In what ways do you think industry trends will impact our company in the next 1 to 5 years? How would you be prepared to address these trends as the CFO in our company?
  • What would be your top priorities at our company in your first 6 months? First 12 months? How would you structure those priorities for your team?
  • What would you say are the biggest risks, weaknesses, and opportunities for our company? How would you approach your next steps as CFO on both?
  • How should a CFO best support and interact with other business units or departments, such as marketing or operations? How would you maintain relationships with these departments to ensure they are achieving their performance objectives? 
  • Tell us about your management style and how you have responded to challenges that affected your team.
  • How should a CFO foster collaboration and innovation in their team’s working environment?
  • What business intelligence tools do you use for budgeting and forecasting?
  • How do you prioritize the responsibilities of the CFO role together with managing a team?
  • How have you streamlined or improved a company’s accounting process in the past? How did you measure the results of that accounting process change?
  • How can a CFO be most effective when acting as a strategic advisor to the company? 
  • Tell us about a time when you have had to communicate negative results or bad news to a board? How did you also communicate that information to your team?
  • What key factors help you decide on strong opportunities and/or investments?
  • How do you determine if investment opportunities will maximize profitability with respect to business objectives?
  • Imagine a situation where other company executives are very interested in an investment opportunity that you evaluated as too risky. How would you effectively communicate your findings?  
  • How do you create beneficial financial models such as revenue forecasts? 
  • How would you communicate the takeaway conclusions of your forecasts to key members of your team, the company, and the board?

How to Find the Best CFO For You 

Hiring the right executives for your company is critical to its long-term success. The main question is what are the best approaches to finding and retaining such executives? 

One of the most effective ways to attract high performing CFO candidates is through executive search firms. Knowledge Leaders is the leading executive search firm in the EdTech industry and has extensive experience in recruiting exceptional chief financial officers.

Explore Knowledge Leaders

Are you in the chief financial officer executive search process? Are you seeking the perfect CFO for your company and brand? 

At Knowledge Leaders, we connect companies in the technology and education space with top executive candidates every day. 

To learn more about Knowledge Leaders and how we can assist in your CFO search, please contact a member of our team today.