When you started your finance studies, you were among the students who enthusiastically raised his hand when the professor asked the question: "who wants to become a CFO?" You were probably one of many. Many financials have the ambition to become CFO (Chief Financial Officer) before their thirtieth birthday. You were starting as a starter in the assistant controller position, acting as a business controller within a few years, and then making the sought-after promotion to CFO. However, getting a position as CFO is no small feat! We do not promise you cows with golden horns, but five handles to grab the cow by the horns and realize your dream of becoming a CFO.
1. Gain experience in various financial positions
If you want to become a CFO, it is important to know what all the financials in your team do for work. What are their primary tasks, responsibilities, and how do the lines of communication run? What do they do every day? You must have a broad financial understanding and knowledge of administration, sales, and accounting, as well as reporting, finance, and business control. Besides, experience as a financial manager cannot be missed. So do you want to become a CFO early in your career? Then start a side job as an administrator or financial assistant during your studies. Who knows, you might even be able to work as a junior controller!
2. Keep developing yourself towards the role of CFO
It is the golden rule of promotion. If you want to grow, you have to work on gaining more experience and knowledge actively. It is not enough to only do your work excellently, and you also have to stand out and come up with new ideas. Therefore, be very aware of your knowledge, skills, and limits. Ensure you know where your talents lie and how you can best use them within the finance department. Are you strong in content, do you have excellent soft skills, do you perform well under pressure, do you take enough initiative? Ask your manager and colleagues for feedback and create a plan for yourself to help you stand out as a CFO. In short: make sure that you are always busy growing both personally and professionally.
3. Remain in the school desks and do further finance education
As a professional, you are never done learning. You can follow various courses to expand your financial knowledge and theoretical knowledge. For example, as a novice financial, you can start a postmaster course or follow courses and training within your organization. Many starters, for example, follow the training to become a chartered accountant or register controller. This way, you keep developing yourself, come into contact with like-minded people, expand your professional network, and show that you are ambitious!
4. Try to be of added value to the organization in addition to your financial position
In addition to your position, there are plenty of opportunities to profile yourself within the organization. Each organization has different departments, committees, and activities. Not only limit your network to your direct colleagues but also get to know colleagues in other departments well. Please share your knowledge and experience and ask how other colleagues view strategic changes or how certain developments affect their work. Make sure you receive new colleagues with open arms and put yourself forward as a coach. Be part of certain committees and get to know both colleagues and organization well. Most people who become CFO have profiled themselves very clearly within their company in several areas.
5. Act as the CFO's right hand
Where better to gain experience than with a CFO? By functioning as his right hand, you will be able to see which tasks and responsibilities fall under the CFO position and how you can deal with them. You can also start thinking about how you would do it if you become a CFO, and whether you would make other choices. How much effect does a particular decision have? How often is the desired result achieved? How do you want to lead? You come into contact with the top of the organization and see how strategy is shaped.
So... how do you become CFO? It is mainly the "extras" that you show outside your position and the way you profile yourself, actually, as with most promotions. Give your eyes a living. Continue to develop as a (finance) professional, and work on your network inside and outside the company. Good luck!