The #1 Issue Keeping The CFO Up At Night (Which May Surprise You)

by | Mar 15, 2017 | Blog

If your CFO appears to have a lot weighing on his or her mind, there’s a good chance that it’s a concern rooted in dysfunctional culture and disjointed team communications, not necessarily the business’ financial health first and foremost. That’s one of the key findings from a recent survey of over 2,000 CFOs in the U.S. by Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

The survey reveals that as today’s CFO is becoming more highly involved in strategic thinking and building upon initiatives from the C-suite, they frequently have to deal with financial talent across a broad demographic mix: Eager and promising 20-somethings. Emerging leaders at the managerial level. Senior leaders who see retirement on the horizon.

All of these employees and then some have to align the same direction for success, but differences that come with the generational gaps between groups can cause tension. One group may favor communication from a manager to tell them exactly what to do individually. Another group may favor team collaboration in order to arrive at new solutions.

Enter a CFO who must find ways to bridge these divides to not only keep the peace but also show key individuals that their voices are being heard. This “open door” will go a long way in determining how much of the company’s financial talent is consistently retained. Which leads directly into the other significant issue right behind communication and team building: Hiring.


Keeping The Talent Pipeline Full

When open positions for financial talent go unfilled for extended periods of time, that’s when the CFO may really begin to feel the pressure of luring new talent into the fold while retaining the best talent with fresh opportunities for growth and recognition.

The default response may be to offer a highly attractive salary but don’t rely on that to solve all – particularly among Millennial hires who tend to demand more in the way of benefits from their employers. What are you offering them beyond the dollars and cents?


How The CFO Can Sleep Easy Tonight

First, don’t pretend that conflict doesn’t exist – meet it head on. It’s a natural part of the workplace to have disagreements but you also don’t want to see them escalate. Talk about it with your team. In many cases, people simply want to know they’ve been listened to. That brings the temperature in the room down quickly.

Secondly, communication is what your team wants…so give it to them. We’ve heard that many Millennials crave that instruction, so by holding back, you’re preventing them from helping you meet the goals you’ve set. This isn’t license to micromanage but rather talking with them regularly to ensure all parties are on the same page as far as expectations.

Third, hire for personality as much as skill. If building a collaborative culture is a big priority, paint a picture for yourself of the kind of individuals you want to hire and retain. What qualities do they have? How passionate are they about certain things? How important to you that they’re fun to be around? The way you hire leaves an imprint on the culture, which has implications for how long you might successfully retain your best people.


Need To Divide And Conquer To Handle It All?
Bronswick Benjamin Can Help.

It can be profoundly challenging to manage relationships of your financial talent while trying to focus on new services, new customers and growing the business. That’s where Bronswick Benjamin’s part-time CFO and controller services can be an outstanding supplement to what you’re striving to accomplish.

We’ll supply you with a business advisor who is always available to help you oversee the financial side of your business, establish financial controls, manage your accounting staff, improve the quality of the financial information you’re receiving, analyze profitability by service or product line, liaison with 3rd parties such as bankers and attorneys and more. So if you have a CFO who is overwhelmed by growing responsibilities or no CFO at all, it’s worth talking to us at Bronswick Benjamin about this special area of our services. Call us at 847.808.9800 and we’ll be glad to share more.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this Blog (the “Blog”) is intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. In no event will BB or its partners, employees or agents, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this Blog or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.


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