CFO Dive

      Where Do You Fall on the CFO Spectrum?

      You can have decades of financial management experience and get nowhere near a CFO office if you don’t bring the ability to modify your company’s growth strategy in the face of new competitors.

      There’s a CFO crisis today. Two-thirds of CEOs believe the CFO role will continue increasing in significance but a third think their CFO isn’t up to the challenge. That’s because the global economy requires CFOs to bring creativity, communication, and technological skills to the table, while the traditional CFO is grounded in risk aversion and crisis management. Where do you fall on this spectrum? 

      The massive shift in CFO responsibility stems from an unpredictable economic landscape, driven most recently by the monumental financial disruption of COVID-19. 

      Today, business growth and longevity require great financial risk. The marketplace is much more volatile than before and technology has globalized every industry, which deepens, expands, and complicates market niches and competition. Advanced technology, among other factors, has created a need for what KPMG has called the “Renaissance CFO.”

      Evolving expectations

      What do successful CFOs today look like? More than accountants, they’re a partner to the CEO, an organization’s vocal leader, and an action-based executive 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. Having a strong accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system management background no longer holds any guarantees. ERP experience is now a prerequisite, not unlike having an accounting or finance degree. 

      What we’re seeing at my company, an executive placement firm, is that CFOs, when they join a company, are inheriting ERP selection and implementation initiatives as part of their organization’s data automation, analytics, and forecasting goals.

      That’s part of a trend in which technology is permeating every facet of commerce and generating increased opportunities for gains and losses. The predominance of technology 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 companies need to constantly cultivate stronger connections between departments that result in more strategic and organized operations. CFOs play an integral role in cohesive company management.

      About CFO Dive

      CFO Dive provides in-depth journalism and insight into the most impactful news and trends shaping finance. The newsletters and website cover topics such as financial reporting, compliance, technology, risk management, leadership, and more.

      CFO Dive is a leading publication operated by Industry Dive. Our business journalists spark ideas and shape agendas for 10+ million decision makers in competitive industries.

      Cowen Partners is the nation’s executive search firm, enabling companies to harness the power of human capital to fuel their success. Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world class talent. Our clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations.

      Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite and include VP and director level leadership roles.

      With our proven processes and guaranteed results, we have successfully placed hundreds of candidates in industries including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, financial services, and private equity.

      About Shawn Cole, President & Cofounder

      Shawn Cole is a serial entrepreneur and executive leader with over 15 years’ experience founding and running successful companies. Shawn’s business career has been centered on value creation for both turnarounds and startups.

      Shawn is President and Co-Founder of Cowen Partners, a national CFO executive search firm focused on the key elements of a successful business: sales, marketing, and finance. Business clients across the country trust Cowen Partners to take their companies to the next level by finding them executive talent, such as a CEO, CFO, COO, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer. Clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations, typically $50 million to multi-billion dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $1 billion and $15 billion.

      An active participant in the business community and startup space, Shawn Co-Chairs The Cowen Partners Venture Fund which provides seed funding and early stage investments, focusing on market disruptors in niche markets, community businesses, and minority entrepreneurs.

      Shawn attended Oregon State University’s College of Business Austin Entrepreneurship Program and participated in a first-of-its-kind experiential entrepreneurship experiment at Weatherford Hall. He was also a Founding Member and President of Oregon State University’s Students in Free Enterprise, an international non-profit organization working with university students who want to positively change their communities and learn practical knowledge to become socially responsible business leaders.

      At the age of 16 Shawn became a volunteer firefighter and EMT, eventually founding and managing a half marathon to raise funds for the community. To date, the marathon is still a success and has raised over one million dollars benefiting the community.

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