A Real CFO Must Have A Backbone

I just read this piece entitled ‘CFOs Behaving Badly‘ by CFO.com and have to say that I could not agree more.

Today, perhaps more than ever, CFO’s and Controllers must be able to stand up and do the right thing, regardless of what their CEO, Board of Directors or anyone else says or does.

This is a tough thing to do when everyone is talking about how a truly strategic CFO must be the CEO’s strategic financial partner, must understand and be intimately involved in operations and be a leader throughout the organization, however, we cannot forget that the fundamental responsibility that we have as CFO’s is to deliver Trust.

Management, employees, shareholders, creditors and others must be able to trust that we have the right people, processes and controls in place to deliver timely and accurate financial reports and information. They must be able to trust that there is sufficient transparency and that information is neither being withheld nor subject to being ‘spun’ to accommodate an ulterior motive.

In order to earn that trust, we have to have the courage to say ‘no’ sometimes and stand for what is right – even if it costs us our job. Frankly, a quality CFO will not want to work around or be associated with a CEO or Board that allow greed, selfishness or personal interest to pervade the philosophy of an organization.

While I don’t condone Talos Partner’s CFO’s tactic of wielding a bat in order to make his point, I do respect his courage to take a stand – are you willing to do the same?

Author: Kent Thomas



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