Thoughts About Successful CFO Hiring

I was recently interviewed by Jack Sweeney for his podcast series called CFO Thought Leader. This was the second time I was interviewed by Sweeney, and I enjoyed the conversation. I believe you may find the conversation interesting and relevant.

Here are some of the things that were discussed. (You can find the listen to, download or find the iTunes link below)

  • Helping companies hire their next CFO with the correct chemistry for the company.
  • Key reasons a company needs to work with an executive search firm to hire their next CFO.
  • The courtship process in hiring a new CFO.
  • Young CFOs who are “Jumping the curve”.

“Patience is a virtue, and CFOs need to be virtuous.”

“Today’s CFO is all encompassing. CFOs have to be involved and responsible for everything. As CFO, you need to know what you can and cannot do. The importance of the complete finance team allows you to be as successful as possible.”

  • Private Equity firms and the influence they have over the placement of CFOs in mid-size market.

“The CFO is a significant part of the valuation of a company.”

  • The CFO career path – jumping to larger ship vs. niching down.
  • CFO Hiring – from within the same industry or outside the industry?

If any of these topics are of interest to you, you will find this podcast to be worth listening to. (23 minutes)

Which comments resonate most with you? Let me know what you think below, or privately by email.

Download | Subscribe to CFO Thought Leader Podcast series on iTunes | Link to the CFO Thought Leader web page with more details about this podcast

 

The CFO & CHRO: The discussion continues. Listen in.

On Wednesday August 13, 2014, I was interviewed on DriveThruHR by Nisha Raghavan.

In our discussion, we touched on a few points about the relationship between Human Resources and Finance. Here are some of the topics Nisha and I discussed.

  • Who should HR professionals report to? The CEO or CFO?
  • Discussed CHRO Moves and CFO Moves and the difference between the visibility CFOs and CHROs get.
  • Discussed Samuel’s new book, and what it says about the importance of the CFO having a strong relationship with the CHRO.
  • HR and Finance are critical support functions that need to work together to make the business successful. A deeper discussion follows on how HR and Finance can work well together.
  • How CHROs can benefit from a close relationship with the CFO, as well as how the CFO can benefit from a close relationship with HR. A business partner approach is very effective.
  • Where should companies find finance talent? Everywhere. The right senior finance talent is much harder to find and attract. Companies cannot afford to hire the wrong CFO. There is not only the cost of hiring wrong, but companies are missing the upside of hiring a great CFO as well.

Go ahead and listen in to the entire conversation:

Internet Radio with DriveThruHR on BlogTalkRadio
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Samuel’s CFO Blog is published by Samuel Dergel, CFO and Finance Executive Search Specialist and Finance Executive Coach.

Listen In: Radio Interview with Bloomberg Radio May 20, 2014 #BBGCFO

I had the opportunity to be on a panel at the Bloomberg CFO Conference in New York City on May 20th, 2014. I plan on blogging on my experience at this exciting CFO oriented event soon.

In the mean time, you may enjoy listening to an interview I had on Bloomberg Radio with Carol Massar and Pimm Fox. They asked me about my book, Guide to CFO Success, as well as CFOs and the companies that hire them.

If you like what I had to say, please share your favorite quote and point them to this radio interview.

Thanks,
Samuel

BlueSteps Interview – Executive Search Consultant Q&A: Guide to CFO Success

I was recently interviewed by Bluesteps, a service of The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), on my recent book, Guide to CFO Success.

Here is an excerpt from the interview. To read the interview in its entirety, please click here.

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BlueSteps chats with Samuel Dergel, Executive Search Consultant at Stanton Chase International, who recently published Guide to CFO Success.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with the AESC and BlueSteps about the CFO role and your new book, Guide to CFO Success. Can you tell us about the work you do at Stanton Chase International?
 
I work in executive search, with a focus on the Office of Finance. Working across the United States and Canada, as part of our CFO and Financial Executive Practice, I help companies hire their next Chief Financial Officer, and work with CFOs to build a finance team that will ensure their success. In addition to working with CFOs and other Financial Executives, I do executive coaching.
 
In your book, you talk about the reality of the CFO role vs. what the CFO role is perceived to be. How do you define the CFO role?
 
The role of the Chief Financial Officer is a critical one for all organizations. The Board and the CEO set the expectations for the CFO, and it is important for the CFO to deliver on these expectations. In essence, the role of the CFO is whatever the company deems it to be.
 
Guide to CFO Success focuses on all stages of the CFO’s career, from searching for a new executive job to building out her team. Which career stages are most CFOs unprepared for when managing their careers?
 
Career transition. CFOs may be well trained to be great CFOs, but no Chief Financial Officer has been trained to become a CFO in Transition. My experience shows that CFOs who are focusing on their career at the same time as their CFO role for their employer are at an advantage over those that just give 110% to their employer. CFOs who continue to develop themselves and network properly throughout their career minimize the chances that they will ever be in transition, or, if they end up in between opportunities, their network will quickly activate to their advantage.

Other questions answered in this interview include:

What has changed about the CFO role in the last 5-10 years? How have long-standing CFOs adapted to these changes?

In your book, you discuss in transition CFOs and the best ways to cope with searching for a new position. What advice do you have for CFOs who are currently in transition?

How can a CFO candidate best present himself to get noticed by executive recruiters in today’s marketplace?

In your book, you highlight the importance of “critical early wins” for a newly hired CFO. What should a new CFO focus on during the first few days and months on the job?

A major theme in your book focuses on the importance of focusing on one’s own career even when happily employed. Why is it important for CFOs to focus on both their career and their employer?

Do you have any recommendations for CFOs who have difficulty finding the time to focus on their career while they’re employed?

One unique thing about your book is that you focus on the CFO as a leader rather than the CFO as the technical, number cruncher. A significant part of being a leader is maintaining strong relationships. Which relationships do most CFOs find to be the most difficult and what recommendations do you have for CFOs to navigate those rocky relationships?

What changes should CFOs prepare for in the next 5-10 years? What new skills might they need? What will they need to be able adapt to in the workplace?

To read the interview in its entirety, please click here.

25 Quotes from Guide to CFO Success

A number of my followers are excited about the release of my upcoming book, Guide to CFO Success: Leadership Strategies for Corporate Financial Professionals in the United States and Canada on March 31, 2014. (Available in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2014)

While you may have to wait a little longer to get your copy of the book, I extracted quotes from the book I thought might wet your appetite.

If you find you find these quotes relevant and interesting, you can let others know about the book by:

    • Sharing the Slideshare presentation on social media
    • Sharing your favorite quote on social media
    • Recommending the book to someone who would appreciate reading it.

Stay tuned for further updates, including speaking engagements and book signings.

Thank you for your continued support,

Samuel

CFOs, Are You Doing Your Job?

As an executive search professional that focuses on the office of the CFO, I am involved with the hiring of Chief Financial Officers for companies. Unless I am working to help a company hire their first CFO, the mandate I have is to replace a current CFO or a Chief Financial Officer that has left.

While only having the time to work on a handful of CFO searches at a time, you may know that I track CFO movement on my CFO Moves Blog. When I combine my personal direct involvement with helping companies hire their Chief Financial Officer with my tracking of hiring and unhiring of CFOs across the US, Canada and the UK, I see many CFO getting replaced.

You can understand that this a topic that interests me. And if you are reading this, the topic probably interests you as well.

I came across a very interesting academic working paper, CFO Succession and Corporate Financial Practices, authored by Ellen Engel, Feng Gao and Xue Wang, that was published in October 2013. This paper looks at reasons and financial reporting consequences of CFO successions. The document is a properly researched academic paper, and makes for an interesting read if you are academically inclined.

Here is the Abstract of the document which summarizes the findings of the research:

We examine the determinants and financial performance consequences of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) successions. We argue that if internal monitoring mechanisms are effective, there should be a greater probability of forced CFO departures in firms with poor financial reporting and capital management performance, and resulting improvements in financial practices following forced turnovers. We test these hypotheses over the period 2002 to 2008. We find that

(1) the incidences of accounting restatements and debt covenant violations are significantly associated with the probability of forced CFO turnovers;

(2) firms are more likely to hire successor CFOs from outside the firm following accounting restatements, especially those due to irregularities;

(3) the hiring of outside CFOs is associated with improved financial reporting quality.

Further, these findings are concentrated in firms with majority independent boards, suggesting that outside directors play a greater role in monitoring CFOs than inside board members.

These findings are not surprising.

When CFOs don’t do their job, they get fired and replaced.

As CFO, are you doing your job?

Samuel’s 2013 Recap + Top Ten Blogs of 2013

2013 was an interesting year for the Chief Financial Officer. I find it fascinating that the office of the CFO continues to receive more attention from the general business press, vendors trying to make inroads in to the C-suite, and from CFOs themselves that are turning to social media to get feedback on issues where they used to feel lonely. I believe that 2014 will continue on these trends, and I have a feeling that there will be a major trend change in 2014 for CFOs (Stay tuned).

2013 was a very interesting year for me. The highlight of my year was putting together my upcoming book, Guide to CFO Success. It was truly a yearlong process. I started putting the proposal together at the beginning of the year, which led to getting my book deal signed with Wiley. I then created and developed my CFO Advisory Group for my book. These 87 CFOs answered a weekly survey over 14 weeks and gave me (and you) input and anecdotes to support CFO success. I found the writing of the book one of the most challenging professional projects I have ever faced, and can say (after the fact) that it was an amazing personal growth experience. As December and 2013 wraps up, the book is in final production.

Click here to get your own holiday card from Samuel!

With Guide to CFO Success taking up a big portion of my time, I was not able to write as many new blog posts in 2013. Many of my top blogs viewed this year were written in previous years. The power of Google drives people who are interested in these topics. The topics and information in some of these popular blogs have been further developed in my upcoming book because of the interest in these CFO subjects. Stay tuned for new blog postings in 2014.

2013 was a very busy year for CFO Moves, my weekly blog covering CFO hires and unhires in the USA, Canada and the UK. I continue to be impressed by the feedback I get from the people following these blogs, and am grateful that people appreciate the work that goes in to preparing them every week.

2014 looks to be shaping up to be a wonderful year for me and my CFOs. The book will be coming out in March. I am scheduled to present at the AICPA CFO Conference in May. I had some very interesting end of year conversations relating to my upcoming book, and as these things develop, I will certainly keep you in the loop.

Wishing you and your family the very best for the holidays, and a prosperous and successful 2014!

Samuel’s Top 10 Blog of 2013

10) Podcast: Becoming a world-class CFO and Finance team: What it takes, why now, and who’s made it?

9) Why do CFOs Leave?

8) 5 Most Popular Names for CFOs (2013 Edition)

7) Road Map to Successful CFO Relationships

6) Different companies need different CFOs

5) Negotiating your CFO Employment Contract

4) CFOs: When interviewing for your next role, make sure you have one of these

3) Presentation Links: The Road to CFO

2) CFOs: Do you want to become a Controller? This CFO did just that.

1) The First 90 Days of a New CFO

If you’d like to see previous year’s top blogs, click here and here.

Do you have any topics that you would like addressed in 2014? Let me know by sending me a message on LinkedIn or commenting below!

Samuel

CFOs: It’s not just about Finance anymore

The Shifting Role of Chief Financial OfficersWhat value does the Chief Financial Officer bring to the company they work for? According to recent research by American Express, CFOs around the globe believe they are:

    • Seeing an increase in influence at their companies, and
    • Have more input than ever on improving their company’s ability to deliver value to customer.

CFOs also believe that they need to improve their skills in many areas, including some that are not thought of as “finance skills” such as:

    • Strategic thinking
    • Internal alliance builder
    • Conflict resolution
    • Global business acumen, and
    • Logistics acumen

It is nice to see that CFOs are more positive and upbeat on the value that they bring to their companies. I am a big believer in the value that a CFO can bring to the company they work for. I am also a big supporter for CFOs developing themselves further to meet the real needs of the people they work for.

The question I have is this: Are CFOs really adding value in their environment over and above what is expected in Finance? Maybe. The actual reality is not the perception that CFOs have of themselves, it is the perception that the people that CFOs report to that is most important.

Perception is reality. The perception of the people that CFOs work for is the reality that really matters.

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(Note to readers: I apologize for my absence on this blog for the past months. While my CFO Moves blog has been delivering every Monday morning like clockwork, I have been spending a significant amount of time recently on my upcoming book, Guide to CFO Success: Leadership Strategies for Corporate Financial Professionals. I am now in the production process with my publisher, John Wiley & Sons, and I’m looking forward to your feedback when the book is released in March 2014. Hopefully I will get to meet you in person as I speak at conferences and events in 2014. If you’d like to have me discuss my book at your local CFO event, ask the organizers to reach out to me to see if I’m available.)

CFOs: IPOs are coming back. Are you ready?

Initial Public Offerings were hot commodities in the early and mid oh-oh’s. Most finance leadership reading this blog remember those days well, and some of you did very well financially because of it.

The recession that occurred towards the end of the last decade put a stop to that IPO train. Companies needing capital for growth had to look elsewhere, and many companies were unable to succeed because this driver of growth dried up.IPO (Initial Public Offering)

For the past few months I have been hearing the rumble of the oncoming IPO train. A number of CFOs I have spoken with in the past months have shared with me that they are being given the strategic responsibility to be ready for when the IPO market comes back. There is a feeling of cautious optimism that this catalyst for economic growth will soon be back.

How can a CFO prepare for the talent challenges to come?

One of the biggest challenges that an uptick in the IPO market will face is that there is a small pool of talented mid-level professionals with relevant and recent IPO experience. The amount of work needed to be IPO ready is significant. When the IPO dam breaks, many companies will be rushing to get their IPO done. If the talent challenges are not planned properly, companies will have to be more reliant on expensive external resources (think audit and law firm rates). Companies who properly plan for their talent needs in advance will be able to go public earlier, which could be very beneficial as well.

Another significant challenge to companies that are currently private is that the cost of being public is expensive. A CFO needs to ensure that they have the leadership and professionals on staff that can deliver the quantity and quality of timely and correct information necessary to be considered a well-run public company. CFOs bear the burden when their finance team is not able to deliver accordingly.

CFOs who have been mandated to prepare for an upcoming IPO by their board need to have a talent plan to ensure they can meet their needs for going public and staying public. This plan for talent acquisition, development and retention is necessary to balance the costs of going public and staying public.

This talent planning business will not be easy. But those that start planning now will be at an advantage.

CFOs, get ready. You could be in for a very bumpy ride on the IPO Express.

5 Most Popular Names for CFOs (2013 Edition)

You may be aware of a blog that I put out weekly called CFO Moves. This blog is the most comprehensive report of CFO Movement across the United States. (We also have CFO Moves Canada and CFO Moves UK). In the past year, CFO Moves announced over 1,000 new CFOs that were hired, not counting those that resigned or were promoted beyond the CFO chair.

Last July we issued our very popular blog with the most popular names of CFOs hired, and this year we decided to do the same. (You can check out our 2012 edition here).

So, if your company hired a new CFO in the past 12 months, there is a good chance your CFO may have on of the following first names.

Men

    1. Michael / Mike
    2. John / Jonathan
    3. David / Dave
    4. James / Jim
    5. Steve / Steven / Stephen

Women

    1. Catherine / Katherine
    2. Susan
    3. Patricia
    4. Jennifer
    5. Christine / Christina

There was only one change in the top 5 for men (Jim replaced Mark) since last year, but for the women, the only one of 2012’s top CFO names that stayed in the top 5 was Christine.