The Traits of Today's CFO. A Handbook for Excelling in an Evolving Role

  • ID: 3894200
  • Book
  • 160 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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As the business world grows in complexity and increases in pace, organisations expect the leaders of their management accounting teams to be just that–leaders. Crunching the numbers, running financial reports, and complying with rules and regulations are only a part of contemporary CFOs′ or controllers′ work. Equally important is CFOs′ participation on the executive team as a strategic leader of the finance function, a strong communicator, high–level negotiator, and builder of a collaborative environment.

While your organisation expects you to take on this evolving role, you may not feel confident in your ability to perform these high–level functions. The Traits of Today′s CFO: A Handbook for Excelling in an Evolving Role has the answers you need. This book explores in detail controllers′ and CFOs′ critical traits and explains specifically what actions are required to meet these requirements. It provides a wealth of information on coaching employees and, in the process, transferring accountability for results back to their hands. It further includes thorough coverage of best practices in governance and risk programmes, gap analysis, shaping organisational culture, and team building.

Drawing on studies of executives and leaders of finance teams, The Traits of Today′s CFO develops a detailed picture of the contemporary and future controller and CFO and tells you how to powerfully perform in these roles.

Checklists, self–assessments, position descriptions, coaching exercises, and other practical tools make this book immediately useful to your work now and your own evolving career.

"There will always be a high demand for the strategic CFO," author Ron Rael says. Ensure you are a strategy–driven management accounting leader with this valuable book.

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Introduction 1

Advanced Critical Skills 2

Specific Best Practices 3

1 Step 1: Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness by Looking Ahead 5

Our Future More of the Same, at Warp Speed 5

CFO and Controller s Future Roles 5

The CFO and Controller Team s Responsibilities 6

The Management Accounting Department s Journey Into the Future 7

Value Creation Approach to Management Accounting: Eight Insights into Management Accounting s Future 8

Universal Theme No. 1: An Emphasis on Nonaccounting Roles 8

Universal Theme No. 2: Our Performance Gap 17

Universal Theme No. 3: The Collaborative Partnership 17

Solution No
1 How to Overcome the Performance Gap 18

Solution No
2 How to Prepare for Tomorrow 19

2 Step 2: Become an Effective Coach 21

Coaching in a Nutshell 21

Coaching at the Individual Level 22

The Skill of Coaching 22

Accountability Factor in Coaching 23

Specific Skills of a True Coach 23

Coaching Skills Defined 24

Coaching at the Organisational Level 26

Teaching and Training 26

Counselling 26

Guiding 26

Learning 26

Sharing 27

Questioning 27

Relating 27

Listening 27

Using Intuition 27

Creativity 28

Controller and CFO Best Practice: Position Description 28

Elements of the Position Description 28

Benefits of Using a Position Description 29

Tips on Making the Position Description Effective 29

Position Description for a General Accounting Assistant 31

3 Step 3: Improve the Organisation s Performance Through Coaching 41

CFO = Influencer 42

Best Practice: Shape the Culture by Defining It 45

Tone at the Top 45

The Leader as Proactive Shaper of Culture 46

CFO Tool: Cultural Ideals 46

The Story You Tell 47

In the End 51

Best Practice: Create Balanced Risk–Taking With a Risk Programme 52

Risk Is Individual to Each of Us 52

Risk Is Everywhere and Never–Ending 53

Why Defining Risk Is Necessary 54

The Meaning of Risk Has Changed 54

Fundamental Sources of All Business Risks 55

CFO Solutions to Make People Aware That Risk Exists 58

CFO Solutions to Make People Aware That Risk Can Be Survived 58

CFO Tool: Risk Identification 58

CFO Tool: Selecting the Right Strategy 61

In the End 61

Best Practice: Foster Accountability by Defining It 63

Accountability From a Leader s Perspective 63

Accountability Is Often Misunderstood 63

Where Accountability Fits In 65

The Undefined Standard 66

Why Accountability Works to Make Everyone Successful 66

How Leaders Improve Accountability 67

10½ Rules of Accountability 68

Best Practice: Establish a Governance Programme That Eliminates Questionable Practices 70

Controls or Policies Are Not Governance 70

Makeup of a Governance Programme 72

The Human Element in Governance 73

Cost of Governance 74

4 Step 4: Improve Your Team s Effectiveness Through Coaching 75

The Value of Teaming in Finance 75

The CFO as Developer of Team s Skills and Talents 76

In Essence 76

Best Practice: Shape Your Employees Teaming Behaviours With a Solid Structure 78

The Teaming Culture 78

The Team s Decisions Are Made by Consensus 81

How to Create a Strong Team 83

10½ Rules About Building Effective Teams 83

In the End 84

Best Practice: Shape Your Employees Accountability by Establishing Behaviour Expectations 85

Expectations and Standards Shape Behaviours 85

Cultural Objectivity 87

CFO Tool: Culture Statement 88

CFO Tool: Ground Rules 89

CFO Tool: Service Standards 89

In the End 90

Best Practice: Shape Your Employees Behaviour by Using Honest Feedback 92

Power of Immediate Feedback 92

How to Keep Feedback Objective 93

How Leaders Use Feedback 94

When and Where to Use Feedback 96

10½ Rules for Performance Improving Feedback 97

In the End 97

Best Practice: Shape Your Employees Behaviour With Recognition and Rewards 99

Why Rewards and Recognition Foster Team Behaviours 99

How Leaders Create Team Recognition 100

In the End 102

5 Step 5: Improve Your Change Agent Skills Through Self–Coaching 105

Your Need for Self–Coaching 105

Controller or CFO s True Role 105

Similar Roles Yet Different Responsibilities 106

Best Practice: Skills Gap Assessment 107

Change Agent s Skills Explained 108

Best Practice: Gap Analysis 109

Gap Analysis Defined 109

In the End 111

Best Practice: Formalised Action Plan 112

Obtain Tangible Results With an Action Plan 112

Best Practice: Action Plan Reporting and Accountability 114

In the End 115

CFO Versus the Controller How the Roles Vary 115

6 Step 6: Improve Your Skills as a Leader in the Middle 119

Your Personal Strength: Surviving as a Manager in the Middle 120

Your Biggest Hurdle to Becoming a Great Leader 120

Natural Rule of Leadership 121

Best Practice: Solution Creator 123

How to Become an Effective Problem Solver 123

Their Pain Is Real and Tangible, Yet Hidden 123

Best Practice: Probing Questions 124

How to Get to the Real Problem 124

Why Management Accountants Do Not Use Objective Questioning 125

Best Practice: Problem Restatement 127

Ways Get to the Real Cause of an Issue or Problem 128

1 Big Mistake of the CFO 128

2 Big Mistake of the CFO 129

How to Use Problem Restatement 129

The Process for Restating the Problem 130

In the End 131

7 Chapter 7: Step 6½: Improve by Making a Commitment 133

Growing Pains 133

3 Big Mistake of the CFO 134

Today s Management Accounting Leader Realities 135

Our Skills and Knowledge Grow Obsolete at an Ever–Faster Rate 135

A Management Accounting Team Advances in Only Two Ways: The Solutions We Provide and the Connections We Sustain 135

Significant Trends in Management Accounting that Impact the CFO and Controller 136

Trend No
1 136

Trend No
2 137

Trend No
3 137

Trend No
4 137

Trend No
5 138

Trend No
6 138

Trend No
7 138

Trend No
8 139

Trend No
9 139

Strategies for Coping With the Pain of These Changes 140

Best Practice Instilling a Personal Commitment 140

Best Practice Instilling Continuous Improvement with Plus/Delta 141

Steps of the Plus/Delta 141

Controller s Resources List 145

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Ron Rael, CPA, is a thought leader for the CPA profession on leadership for CFO/controllership topics. He is the CEO of High Road Institute, a leadership development organization. Ron has authored content on topics such as professionalism, customer service, budgeting, accountability, governance risk management and strategic planning. He has coached more than 10,000 accounting professionals in organizations and leadership teams throughout the United States and Canada.

Ron s industry experience comes from working in two large corporations, as well as from leading accounting teams in numerous closely held businesses.

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