How to Complete a Successful Career Journey from CFO to CEO


How to Complete a Successful Career Journey from CFO to CEO

By Smith & Smith & Ruiz CPA's

Ambition is the fuel of every successful CFO. It drives him or her to new career heights. This inherent drive must be complemented by a set of matching skills. These skills are necessary if a chief financial officer is aiming for the CEO throne. After all, not everyone has the power and determination to steer an entire ship in a sea of heavy competition.

Transition from CFO to CEO


Going on a journey from CFO to CEO requires a solid foundation and the ability to jump from one stepping stone to another with as much grace as possible. The following steps will keep you on the right path to CEO greatness:

Get Involved in the Technical Aspect of Things

The world of a CFO revolves around numbers, but taking a step back and getting involved in other aspects of the company allows you to build  rapport with the internal and external shareholders. Seeing things from a fresh perspective and understanding their needs and challenges can help you cater to those needs on a financial level.

Expand Your Operational Knowledge

According to the latest research, having operational experience is a prerequisite for anyone with an eye on the coveted CEO throne. Knowing the inner-workings of the company and asking curious questions about each and every stage of the operation is crucial. Having tunnel vision and focusing solely on reading and analyzing numbers is the wrong recipe for baking your CEO cake.

Communication is Key

There is always room for improvement when it comes to certain skills. Just because a person becomes a CFO does not mean that his/her learning journey ends at the doors to his/her office.

For example, the CEO of not-for-profit Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas, Stefany Williams, discovered that her public speaking skills were lacking.

In order to refine her communication skills and overcome her anxiety, she joined a business networking organization and started teaching classes at a local college.

At an age where anything we say on the internet can spread like wildfire, learning proper social media etiquette is also a must these days. Learning new skills and refining old ones reflects your drive and ambition, and inspires your employees to hone their own skills in order to move up the corporate ladder as well.

Grow and Nourish Your Network

Getting involved in not-for-profit organizations opens the door for a wider web of networking. It allows CEOs to connect with other fellow chief executive officers and take part in a world that is  different from the corporate universe.

Making a real change in society is great for moral and inspires others to follow in your company’s footsteps. Networking these days has no boundaries.

It spans a range of different occupations, industries and even different geographies. Sometimes, it’s the people outside your circle who end up giving you the best advice.

Networking allows you to broaden your horizons, meet interesting people and learn from their mistakes and life experiences.

Following the above-mentioned steps will make your transition to CEO as smooth as possible.

At Smith & Smith we can assign one of our expert CFOs to assist you in your accounting management. We are available at your service in Seagoville, and Arlington. You can reach us at (817) 466-9333 or (972) 287-5593 to schedule an appointment.

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