A generation ago, most young financial professionals viewed the CFO role as a kind of terminal position, the ultimate pinnacle of a successful career. The typical track involved earning a four year degree and/or graduate credentials in accounting, business, or financial management, followed by an entry level role in a growing company’s finance department, followed by years spent learning, watching, growing, and accumulating institutional knowledge and management experience. Get a foot in the door, then countless promotions later, the CFO chair waits.
But at this point, ambitious financial pros are discovering that the road no longer ends in the supporting CFO position. Instead, CFOs are becoming CEOs and leading company decision makers in growing numbers. Why is this happening, and what does it mean for the future of the traditional financial career path?
Why CFOs are Taking Over the Boardroom
Effective management was once driven by training and knowledge, but this training and knowledge—when used correctly—were built on a foundation of gut instinct. Company leaders were usually visionaries and people-people. They understood just enough about human nature and economic principles to combine those areas into a set of refined, often unconscious, guidelines that led to great staffing decisions and instinct-based risk management. If you know how much to safely invest, and how to build a team of smart people around you, the sky may be the limit. According to old school mangers, too much number crunching and a nerdy, facts-and-figures approach could get in the way of smart risk taking and the pursuit of profitable impulses.
But those old days are fading fast. Business decisions are now driven by data and more data. Number crunching isn’t just a way to avoid perceived risk—it’s rapidly becoming the only way to do business in a digital world where even the smallest companies are developing a global reach.
CFOs were born for this numbers-based business landscape. And they’re proving it with their steady encroachment into CEO positions. With the data-based know-how and company-wide exposure most CFOs experience on their long trip up the career ladder, the final stop now includes positions at the highest level of responsibility. And these responsibilities exceed the world of financial management and extend deeply into marketing, product development, business development, and even HR and IT.
If you’re a financial pro and you’re resetting your long term career ambitions, aim high. And rely on the financial staffing experts at Cordia to help you meet—and exceed—your professional goals. If you are looking for Washington DC executive recruiters, contact our team today.