CFO Mentoring and Advising

Launch of our CFO Mentoring and Advising Program

by Rudi Scheiber-Kurtz, CEO of Next Stage Solutions, Inc |

As the CEO of a growing business you like your incumbent CFO and appreciate the loyalty and support s/he has given you over the years. You know that your CFO is working harder than ever; however, you are also aware of her/his shortcomings in both financial sophistication and leadership. So how can your CFO learn to work outside the preparation of numbers and provide insightful business advice and counsel to your leadership team?

Does this situation sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. NSS recently had this very discussion with a group of midmarket CEOs and discovered a number of common characteristics.

Here are some findings:

•    Your Head of Finance Person comes with different titles: CFO, Controller, VP of Finance, Office Manager, etc.
•    Expectations for that CFO vary from business to business; more likely than not the expectations are focused on the transactional side of finance, the accounting and compliance side.
•    Typically midmarket businesses have worked with the same CFO for more than 10 years. Although the needs of the business have changed, often the work has increased exponentially on the transactional side.
•    Many CEOs compliment what is missing from finance, such as monthly analysis, enterprise risk assessment for an acquisition or launching a new product line. The CEO picks up where the CFO leaves off.

An IBM CFO study in 2010 The Growing Gap makes one message exceedingly clear: “The organizations best positioned to integrate value at the enterprise level excel at both Finance efficiency and business insight. It is the combination that pushes the business toward smarter decisions and fuels better performance.”

Once your business grows to 50 employees or more, the complexity and sophistication of all business processes increases considerably. Having access to a progressive Finance Leader and Business Partner to consult on important issues can be an invaluable asset for today’s CEO.

NSS works with many midmarket companies and we are finding a universal need for a better understanding of what a Strategic CFO or Finance Leader needs to bring to the table. How should you establish reasonable expectations for your CFO and why are those expectations (mindset) so important to the health of your business and in keeping a competitive edge?

Let me start with the mindset. A successful company recognizes the importance of having both the tactical and strategic viewpoints whether it is marketing, sales or finance.

Let’s look at some common scenarios so you can identify the messages from your CFO:

1.    CFO is too busy with internal activities such as reporting, management and day to day transactions and does not have the time.
2.    CFO takes the time to meet, but feels uncertain or uncomfortable in how to best advise you in next steps. The tendency is to move back to the historical data where they feel most comfortable in assessing your future risk.
3.    CFO embraces the discussion and brings a positive energy to your ideas of growth.

Where are you in this picture?

More importantly, what can you do to assist your CFO to transition to the proper mindset to support your needs?

NSS is offering a new Program in response to this need; we call it Business Development for your CFO, a form of mentoring and advising. Our Growth Advisors work directly with you and your CFO on a strategic initiative you have been putting on hold but is necessary for your next stage of growth. The NSS Growth Advisor then works with your CFO to successfully complete the initiative within a specific time frame.

This hands-on approach makes it both real to you and the CFO and the outcome is as follows:

1.    A strategic Initiative gets completed no matter of the CFO capabilities.
2.    Your CFO is delighted and appreciates the support to work more strategically.
3.    After completing the initiative, your CFO decides it is outside her/his comfort zone. This allows you to augment the strategic aspects with a Growth Advisor.    
4.    You get another point of view in how finance should run internally and allow for additional resources and processes to free up your strategic CFO.

We are passionate about growth and want to hear from you. Share with us your success story of such a partnership. Start a conversation with us by calling us at 617-449-7728.

Watch our Video: Rudi Tuesday Webisode 6

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