5 Tips Toward Becoming a Masterful CFO

  • By Liz Briggson
  • June 12th, 2023

How much time do you spend in your office per day? As a CFO or aspiring CFO, success increasingly becomes tied to the time you spend building relationships with your peers and other leaders in your organization. The amount of time you spend in your office, or heads-down at your computer, could actually be a detriment to the goals you are trying to accomplish.

Jennifer Elder, the beloved Sustainable CFO, recently presented her course 'Becoming a Masterful CFO' in this one-hour webinar sponsored by NetSuite. In it, Jennifer shared 12 Tips for Becoming a Masterful CFO. Here, we wanted to recap five. 

These five tips center around becoming a finance business partner. "What is a finance business partner, really?" You may ask. 

According to Jennifer, "Finance business partners… work with the business to track financial performance and provide financial information, forecasting and analysis to help guide decision making and set strategy." They look forward. You can become a finance business partner by incorporating these five tips.

  1. Be optimistic and look for solutions, rather than getting stuck on problems
  2. Ask questions of leaders and peers to truly understand what makes your organization tick
  3. Shift your focus to the future by analyzing how prior performance informs future decisions
  4. Adopt strategic behaviors, such as asking questions like "What If We…"
  5. Leave your office and spend time building relationships and shadowing key functions

Finance leaders have many demands on their time. Goals like serving as a business partner exist alongside other objectives such as financial reporting and maintaining strong internal controls. If you are looking for more actionable best practices to maximize your impact as a professional in finance or accounting, we invite you to join us for the upcoming COSO Crash Course on July 13th.

  • Cfo
  • finance business partner
  • relationship building
  • career progression
About the author
Liz Briggson
Liz Briggson

Liz is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan and a member of the Encoursa team. Liz also provides business valuation consulting services and is actively involved in the Grand Rapids, MI business community through the Association for Corporate Growth.

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