Strategy

Metric of the Week: CFOs Prefer Strategy Over Management

CFOs are thriving in their strategy and tactical roles, but are lagging in soft skills.
Metric of the Week: CFOs Prefer Strategy Over Management
Photo: Getty Images

Chief financial officers as company leaders have been an ongoing theme over the past few years, for obvious reasons. CFO’s reporting has illuminated, and studies and surveys have shown, the finance chief not only is needed as a strategic leader within the organization but increasingly yearns to perform in this role.

Part of any company’s retention strategy is for the C-suite to consider the level of enjoyment and fulfillment employees receive from their jobs. The CFO is no different and, based on the results of an Oracle NetSuite survey published today, finds a great deal of satisfaction in the facets of this evolving role. 

CFOs shared a high level of enjoyment in producing key performance indicators (45%), scenario planning (51%), developing ROI projections (48%), and reviewing month-end close. OK, maybe not the last one. 

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The survey included 500 respondents — 96 CFOs and VPs of finance and 156 non-finance business executives, 125 non-finance managers, and 125 finance managers. Company size included those with revenue up to $250 million. 

One area of surprise is when it comes to CFOs’ role as a manager and coach. CFOs do enjoy running finance team meetings (53% said they enjoy); however, when it shifts to actual management, 39% of CFOs stated they only tolerate coaching their finance team. In coaching line-of-business managers to understand key metrics, 48% said they tolerate it. 

Meanwhile, according to the survey, those who support the CFO and executive office — finance managers in particular — share this consistent view. They view their CFO as highly competent in functions such as financing and data analysis, but less so in soft skills such as communication, management, and motivation. 

The general agreement between CFOs and their managerial staff is an interesting one, and worth paying attention to as the talent war — recruitment, retention, job satisfaction — continues to be dominant themes in 2022. 

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Disclaimer: Oracle NetSuite is a sponsor of CFO.