What a CEO wants from their CFO – part 2

This is part 2 of a what I’ve learned recently from many of our top CEO clients.  Part 1 let us in on the secret of what output a CEO expects from his or her CFO.  Part 2 turns to to characteristics that the CEO expects their CFO to have.

I’m glad to hear that Honesty place high enough above all others that it is clearly the winner.  Headlines these past few years have led me to wonder how much people really value this timeless trait.

ImageI interpreted from their #2 ranked trait, Attention to Details, that they didn’t necessarily want us buried in the details, but rather, they were saying, “Please don’t miss something important because you’re flying too high.”

Third most valued trait was being a Strategic Thinker.  It wasn’t long ago that few people expected the CFO to think about much more than the numbers.  This has very clearly changed.  The CFO must contemplate what the numbers mean and relate them to the ongoing operations and strategy of the organization as much as they focus on their accuracy.

Our request to our CEO clients was a forced ranking.  Don’t make the mistake of believing that the remaining 9 traits are low in importance.  On the contrary, they cannot be neglected either.  Consciously devoting a little time to development in all these key areas will make you a stronger CFO. 

David Chase has experience in small to medium private companies and large public companies as a senior operational and financial leader.  With 14 years in finance, a CFO of multiple entities and divisional EVP experience, Dave has a breadth of experience.  Dave has led or been instrumental in raising multiple rounds of equity and debt in excess of $450 million.

Understanding Your Business Through Trend Analysis

 

 

Trend analysis is a critical, and all too often overlooked, element of understanding what is happening in one’s business.  Far too often we see that companies are looking only at the unformatted, current period financial statements.  By doing so, they are missing a valuable opportunity to be educated by their financials statements about the current period performance, but also the likely near-term performance of their business.

 

Business cycles vary widely by industry, but typically, a one-year look by month (graphically where possible) at the key financial metrics of a business is ideal.  Identifying the key financial metrics to measure is a critical step as well that shouldn’t be glossed over.  In addition to a one-year look, a more detailed trend analysis of the past 3 months and a comparison to the same period from the prior year are two other great comparators and teachers.  Below are some examples:

 

There are many ways to accomplish and view these trends including: reporting software packages (local or in the cloud), accounting software, or simply excel, to name a few.  Some are better than others, but as long as you’re looking at the data in the right way, you’re learning.  Here is a brief but helpful ehow.com treatise on the subject.

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