Whether you’re a CFO, report to a CFO, or manage a CFO, you might be interested to know what concerns CFOs.
- You’re the CFO: If your sleep has to be interrupted by work worries, at least you can take comfort in the knowledge that you’re concerned about the same things as your peers. On the other hand, if a majority of your peers are worried about something you’d barely given a thought to… well, now might be the time to rethink your priorities, or at least confirm that there are valid reasons why what ails your competitors means nothing to you.
- You report to a CFO: Woo hoo! Here’s another chance to wow your boss with how well you stay in the know and can think like her.
- You manage the CFO: Yes, you trust the individual you’ve placed in this responsible position—but it can’t hurt to check up on him just a little, hmmm?
So, what does the data reveal?
“It’s elementary, my dear Watson…”
According to the 2013 CFO Pulse Study conducted by recruiting firm Korn/Ferry, the top three CFO concerns are:
- Revenue growth (51.8%)
- Finding talent (47.1%)
- The increasing regulatory climate (37.6%)
Korn/Ferry claims that the “most critical and fundamental business asset” is capital, (and I’m not sure whether to find that admission refreshing in its honesty or rather frightening, but anyhoo …), with those who manage the capital being the ones to watch.
However, as the Korn/Ferry survey revealed, being a CFO isn’t strictly about the Benjamins. In fact, respondents indicated that the CFO role is continuing to evolve “… from a strictly financial management position to a mix of financial management and operations,” leading Korn/Ferry to conclude that “CFOs need to understand how to cultivate … technology, employee talent, [and] intellectual capital … to gain a competitive edge.”
But Korn/Ferry is not the only organization that knows a CFO or two. PayScale’s 2014 “Best Compensation Practices Report” (hot off the press) contains data from 1033 CFOs (roughly 21.8% of the sample size of 4,738). It’s interesting then, to consider PayScale’s data in light of Korn/Ferry’s, which reveals that CFOs have the same high interest in employee retention (57% of PayScale respondents cited it as a “main concern”) and finding skilled workers (50% of PayScale respondents said they’re having trouble filling positions) as do leaders of other stripes.
These surveys are complimentary (one offering an in-depth review of compensation, hiring, and industry trends overall and the other offering insight into the viewpoint of CFOs in particular), and if you’re a business leader there’s definite value in examining both.