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What do boards expect from CFOs?

Korn/Ferry has released an interesting, though not earth-shaking, document with advice for CFOs on audit committee expectations.

I recommend a read of “Great Expectations: Boards want more from CFOs, and building strong ties to the audit committee is the foundation.”

They say:

In order to achieve world-class outcomes, CFOs should:

  • Have an owner’s mentality. View the business issues through an owner’s lens, and own the results.
  • Push past the must-do’s. Drive the discussion of critical issues beyond the prescribed regulatory requirements.
  • Get your hands around risk. Guide the enterprise risk management process hand-in-hand with the audit committee.
  • Showcase the bench. The whole finance team, not just the CFO, should be familiar to the board.
  • Get familiar. Actively develop personal relationships with the audit committee. This is one case where familiarity breeds confidence.
  1. Ck6
    August 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Actually a paper that can be very useful. The first four points are spot-on and continue the trend of increased owner ERM expectations.

    The last point discusses the development of very tricky relationships. One of the criticisms of boards of directors in the past has been that personal relationships between the board and management lead to a decreased effectiveness of the board. There needs to be a written code of conduct which is strictly enforced on these relationships.

  2. August 25, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    These comments, especially “Get Familiar” are very useful in helping CFOs frame their relationship with the Board.

    While building a strong board relationship is important, the CFO needs to ascertain whether having a very close relationship with key board members (like the chair of the audit committee) can be beneficial or detrimental to them.

    I recommend that CFOs keep a close relationship with key board members, but not too close. Build trust, not friendships.

    Samuel Dergel
    The CFO Expert

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