The CFO: Co-pilot to the CEO

Germany, Bavaria, Munich, Pilot and co-pilot piloting aeroplane from airplane cockpit

Today’s Chief Financial Officer is widely considered to be the co-pilot of the CEO. They are responsible for ensuring that the company is heading in the right direction and spend most of their time working closely with the CEO and board members to drive forward the strategy and deliver the business plan.

To do this effectively, CFOs must create a powerful bond with the CEO and act as a unified team. In this blog post, we discuss the key foundations of this vital partnership.

Strong chemistry

CFOs need to have strong chemistry with their CEO to successfully deliver their role. This is because the CFO is responsible for the financial health of the company and the CEO is responsible for the overall direction of the company. If they are not on the same page, it can lead to problems.

One of the most important things that a CFO can do is help the CEO develop a long-term financial plan. This involves projecting future revenues, expenses and cash flows, and making sure that the company is on track to meet its goals. The CFO can also provide advice on how to grow the business and make it more profitable.

The CEO relies on the CFO to give them accurate information about the company’s finances; whilst the CFO relies on the CEO to provide them with guidance about the company’s future. If these two people have a good working relationship, it will help the company run smoothly and efficiently.

Close relationship

The CEO is the one who sets the company’s strategy and goals. Without a strong relationship with the CEO, the CFO would not be able to effectively carry out their role.

The CFO needs to be able to understand the CEO’s vision for the company and align their own goals with that vision. They also need to be able to provide the CEO with accurate financial information so that the CEO can make informed decisions.

A strong relationship with the CEO is essential for the CFO to effectively carry out their role and help the company achieve its objectives.

Complementary skills

The CFO and CEO need to possess complementary skills to be an effective team. The CFO needs to be able to provide financial guidance and support to the CEO; while the CEO needs to be able to make decisions based on this information. Without both of these skills working together, the company would not be able to function properly.

The CFO needs to have a strong understanding of financial concepts to provide the CEO with accurate information. The CFO should also be able to help the CEO develop a financial strategy for the company and track progress against this strategy.

The CEO needs to have strong leadership skills and be able to make decisions based on limited information. The CEO also needs to be able to understand how financial data can be used to make decisions about the company. Without these skills, the CEO would not be able to effectively lead the company.

Both the CFO and CEO need to be able to work together effectively for the company to be successful. They both bring different skills and knowledge to the table, and they need to be able to use these skills to complement each other. If they are not able to work together well, the company will not be able to function properly.

United communications

The CFO needs to be joined up with the CEO and communicate the same messages. If the CFO and CEO are not on the same page, it can lead to confusion within the company. The CFO needs to be able to understand what the CEO is trying to achieve and vice versa to make sure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

The CFO also needs to ensure that the company’s financial messages are consistent across all channels. This means that the CEO and CFO need to agree on what is being communicated to shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders.

Vital member of the board

CFOs are vital members of the board for a number of reasons. They are responsible for the financial stability of the company, and they provide critical insights to the board on financial matters. CFOs also play an important role in developing strategy and providing guidance to senior management.

CFOs have a unique perspective on the business, and their insights can be invaluable to the board. They help the board to make informed decisions about the company’s future.

Deliver the business plan

The CFO needs to be able to work with the CEO and board members to develop a realistic business plan that will help the company achieve its goals. Once created, the CFO needs to support the CEO by delivering the business plan.

Here are five ways to do this:

  1. Documenting the plan is one of the most important things that the CFO can do to help the CEO. This ensures that everyone has a common understanding of what is being attempted and how it will be measured.
  2. Assigning actions is another critical role for the CFO. By ensuring that each person has specific tasks to complete, it allows the CEO to focus on other aspects of running the business.
  3. Allocating capital ensures that there are sufficient funds available to finance the plan and that these funds are used in the most efficient way possible.
  4. CFOs need to help people implement their tasks by providing support and guidance to ensure that everyone is working effectively towards the common goal.
  5. Monitoring performance against the plan allows for early detection of any problems so that they can be addressed quickly and effectively.

These are just five ways in which the CFO can help the CEO to deliver the business plan. By working together, they can ensure that the business is able to achieve its goals and objectives. This will help ensure that the CEO has the information needed to make ongoing strategic decisions for the company and to successfully execute the strategy.

Be the co-pilot to your CEO

Modern-day CFOs need to become the co-pilot to the CEO to deliver your role effectively. This requires you to build one of the closest relationships in the company, built around strong chemistry and complementary skill sets.

To do this, you need to become a vital member of the board and gain the respect of your fellow executives. You must work closely with the CEO to communicate unified messages and play a pivotal role in delivering the business plan.

To maximize your impact as a modern-day CFO further, join a group of your peers in the CFO Programme.

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