Tips to Ensure Your CFO Sticks Around

by Erin McCune on May 12, 2008

in Careers, Management

It's tough being a CFO – the responsibilities are increasing, the work is getting harder, and the personal liability risks have grown – it's no wonder that CFO turnover is up. The average tenure for a CFO is less than three years (down from five years). Both voluntary and forced departures have increased, but voluntary departures have increased more.

In the May issue of Directors and Boards Tatum's Cynthia Jamison outlines three steps CEOs, boards, and audit committees can take to prevent their CFO from jumping ship:

Ensure that your CFO has adequate resources  -  Eighty-six percent of respondents believe that the breadth of the finance function’s responsibility had increased at their companies over the last five years, but only 43 percent reported an increase in resources such as funding and staff. …  The role of CFO is no longer a job for one person. Rather, it is the management of a finance function — the “CFO Suite” — which is comprised of external advisors, enhanced systems, specialized staff and, of course, the CFO.

Encourage "soft skill" development for your CFO, especially when building peer relationships and enhancing management skills
-  It is not uncommon for the CFO to be viewed by others within the organization as a “bean counter” who enjoys nothing more than cutting budgets. …  An effective CFO needs to transition from skeptical to open-minded, from compliant to independent, and from risk-averse to risk-minimizing.

Think of your CFO as similar to your general counsel in terms of support needed
  -  Amidst the increasing responsibilities required of the CFO, many companies and their boards are turning to alternative approaches to accomplish the unique challenges of any business. One such model is the general counsel model, which engages individuals with substantial expertise in a specific area to be “flexed” in and out according to business need.

Read more:

Hanging On to Your CFO
by Cynthia Jamison
Directors & Boards
May 2008

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