CEO and CFO Leadership Traits
Every Business Needs for Success
Leading the charge.
- Inside the Mind of an Innovative Founder
- Leadership Traits of a Successful CFO
Starting and running a successful business is not for the faint of heart, especially with all of the changing plans and strategies coming out of the pandemic. Effective leadership takes courage, vision, agility, creativity, and good old-fashioned grit. It also takes financial savvy, a firm grasp of processes and best practices, technological know-how, and the ability to inspire people.
CEO & CFO Leadership Traits
When these traits all come together, magic happens. Even the most talented CEOs know that their #1 job is building high-performance teams that will complement their strengths.
That starts with hiring a trusted CFO. Strong CFOs balance the optimistic forward motion of the CEO with strategic grounding and hard data. They provide financial insight and data-backed analysis to support effective decision-making.
The CEO needs the CFO to help plan calculated risks without rushing in blindly. It takes both to run a successful startup. But what exactly does that look like in a leadership context?
Let’s zoom in on the qualities that successful CEOs and CFOs bring to the table.
Leadership Traits of a Successful CFO
Choosing a CFO isn’t just about financial credentials. Most entrepreneurs don’t need an accounting policy expert right out the gate; they need a jack-of-all-trades. In this context, successful CFOs must display:
The optimism of the CEO must be balanced by the financial foresight of the CFO. CFOs inform the CEO’s vision with cold, hard numbers. They should also be willing to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.
A forward-thinking CFO will put the structures and practices in place to prepare the company for future growth stages. The right person will work with the CEO to create a viable financial plan, even if that means focusing on one financial metric at a time to support long-term financial health.
Flexibility & Agility
Numbers are not flexible, but CFOs must be. When things don’t go as planned, the CFO should be able to pivot quickly. For example, if gross margins are too low, the CFO and CEO will have to work together on ways to reduce expenses while also increasing value for customers.
Willingness to Take Calculated Risk
Risk comes with the territory in the startup world, but it’s not necessarily natural to a finance person. Successful CFOs need to know when taking a risk is worth the potential payoff, and when they should tap the brakes.
One of the most important roles of a startup CFO is to counterbalance the CEO’s optimism and drive. When the CEO is forging ahead with an idea that isn’t supported by the numbers, the CFO needs the courage to stand up and say so and to offer alternative ideas.
Business Leadership Working Together
A successful CEO welcomes input from the CFO, because he understands that no one’s ideas are invincible – not even his own.
At CFO Alliance, we come alongside you with the financial leadership and expertise you need to position your business for long-term success. From providing CFO-level leadership that works in tandem with your vision to walk with you step-by-step through an acquisition, we serve as an extension of your team through every stage of your growth journey.
Ready to transform your finance function? We’ll show you how!
Call us today to start the conversation.
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