Cowen Partners is a leader among the nation’s best CFO search firms. Regularly featured in Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg, and CFO Magazine, the CFO recruiters at Cowen Partners specialize in CFO executive search.
These CFO interview questions cover the qualifications, skills, job duties, and other key requirements necessary for your next chief financial officer. These are phrased generally and can be customized to fit industry-specific needs, as well as an organization’s unique objectives.
There’s a CFO crisis in the global economy. According to a 2015 study published by KPMG, 2/3 of surveyed CEOs believe that CFOs will increase in their significance over the next three years (which, incidentally, they have). Yet, 1/3 of those CEOs feel that their CFO is not up to the challenge. Now, this might not sound like news- CEOs putting pressure on CFOs is certainly not an unprecedented 21st-century phenomenon- but it’s not just the CEOs of the world demanding more of Chief Financial Officers. It’s everyone.
There was a time when the role of the CFO was grounded in risk aversion and crisis management. They were the ones maximizing company resources, monitoring cash flow, and tempering the large-scale visions of more creative executives to ensure longevity and stability. In 2022, however, the scope of a CFOs role is radically different. CFOs are now getting wrangled into more public-facing responsibilities, developing equal partnerships with CEOs, and taking an active role in day-to-day operational management according to long-term strategic policy.
Why? Because companies who don’t lean on their CFOs fall flat.
The massive shift in responsibility stems from an unpredictable economic landscape. The terrain of our global marketplace is indeed changing at an accelerated rate, not in the least because of COVID-19 and its monumental financial disruption.
Growth and longevity for businesses demand greater financial risk. The marketplace is much more volatile, and technology has globalized every industry out there, which deepens, expands, and complicates market niches and competition. The entrance of advanced technology, among other factors, has created a need for what KPMG has coined, “the Renaissance CFO.”
What does this modern, 21st century CFO look like? They bring much more creativity, communication, and technological skillsets to the table. CFOs are no longer just accountants. Rather, CFOs are a partner to the CEOs, acting as vocal leaders of organizations — action-based executives within the context of a company’s structure. What was once the highlight of a CFO’s resume – extensive financial management and accounting experience – is now a minimum requirement to take on a CFO role. In fact, a strong accounting and ERP system management background holds no guarantees.
“There is an evolution taking place. While CFOs with ERP experience have been in demand for a long time, ERP experience is now a prerequisite, not unlike an accounting or finance degree. Many of the CFOs we are placing are inheriting ERP selection and implementation initiatives at their new companies as part of their company’s data automation, analytics, and forecasting goals.”Shawn Cole, President and CFO Search Practice Managing Partner of Cowen Partners Executive Search
Technology has permeated every facet of commerce and generated increased opportunities for gains and losses. It determines everything from advertising and marketing to sales to internal operations, and it has the potential to make or break a company. Today’s unpredictable technology-driven market means that:
Additionally, CEOs need CFOs that understand the global, changing market. They want CFOs who can use their understanding of emerging markets and new industry players to adapt and modify company strategy at a moment’s notice. Flexibility, creativity, and craftiness are three of the most in-demand soft skillsets to bring to a CFO role in 2022. Albeit a far cry from the isolated financial expertise of traditional CFOs, these abilities are crucial when it comes to crisis management and successful growth strategy. You can have decades of diverse financial management experience and get nowhere near a CFO office in today’s economic climate because it won’t mean anything without the ability to modify it in the face of new competitors.
CFOs face the enormous task of acting as a bridge between daily operations, long-term strategy, and financial goals. The role of a CFO is no longer about signing off on expenses and monitoring budgetary concerns. Rather, the modern CFO has to:
A CFO of 2022 needs to embody the detail-oriented and data-driven CFO of the past while embracing the volatility and international nature of today’s 21st century markets.
While the task of becoming a modern CFO may seem daunting, the role has never been more exciting, engaging, or unlimited in its potential to make a tangible impact on company growth and performance.
Cowen Partners is proud to be the nation’s top CFO search firm, driven to create maximum value for our clients. Our nationally renowned CFO recruiters have deep experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion.
Through our proven retained executive search process, Cowen Partners delivers 3X more qualified candidates than the competition. In fact, we find, vet, and deliver the top 1% of candidates for CFOs across all industries, including financial services, credit unions, tax and accounting services, private equity, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, real estate, and more.
Read more of our industry-leading retained search resources to see why Cowen Partners is a top CFO search firm in Atlanta, Anchorage, Boston, St. Louis, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, Dallas, Los Angeles, and beyond:
Cowen Partners Executive Search provides the highest quality CFO recruitment services to all major and minor industries including (but not limited to):
Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Biotechnology, Banking, Credit Unions, Board and CEO Services, Computer Hardware, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Computer Software and Hardware, Education, Energy & Utilities, Entertainment & Sports, Finance, Financial Services, Food Products, Government, Human Resources, Health Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Insurance, Industrial, Internet & New Media, Legal, Tax, Crypto, Bitcoin, Private Equity, Journalism & Publishing, Marketing, Manufacturing, Medical Device, Non-Profit, Pharmaceutical, Private Equity, Real Estate, Retail & Apparel, Sales, Technology, Telecommunications and Transportation.