Question of the Week: Should I Stay CFO at a $50M Co.?

In a Proformative discussion, a CFO asks if he should leave his current position for a controllership at a larger firm.
Vincent RyanJune 16, 2017
Question of the Week: Should I Stay CFO at a $50M Co.?

An anonymous CFO writes:

“I have an offer to come on board as a controller at a $100 million-plus entity that has locations across the country. My current company not so much. The potential role would be with a more complex company than my current. My current role does have some technical aspects to juggle, but overall is a fairly simple outfit, where the new role would just be a bigger deal.

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The potential role has a CFO who will be out the door within a few years (retirement) and that could open up for me if I perform well, which I have no doubts I will. Where I am is a great team and if I stay has upside still (execs close to retiring and I could step into a role) but I’m wondering what to do. Both places have some risk due to possible sellouts to private equity or similar, but that’s probably more of a risk at the potential role than the current. Any and all input would be appreciated.”

Side profile of a businessman moving down a ladderOne respondent, a CFO at a C-suite services firm, answered the questioner by explaining what he would look for:

1. Growth prospects of the companies. It is much more professionally satisfying to grow a company (size and business lines) and take them to the next level, said the respondent. “You may be $50 million now but the potential would be key. On the opposite side, the other company may be $100 million but they could be stuck at that level.”

2. Company culture … and the potential or ability to mold/improve it.

3. CEO personality, and the way the CEO manages/strategizes and his or her business acumen and vision. “You will be working directly (or potentially) with the CEO and more or less you will be supporting him on his or her plans,” says the respondent. “Your growth and achievements will largely depend on his or her vision.” As the respondent goes on to explain, the title change may be less important. “What you can accomplish, contribute, or learn (what you will put on your résumé aside from the ‘title’) will be much more substantive in the long run.”

To add your own perspective to this conversation, go to the discussion on the Proformative website (registration required).