Many finance professionals aspire to become CFO. Once they get there, they realize it’s lonely at the (almost) top.
As CFO, you have relationships with those you work for (CEO, Board, Investors), the executives you work with internally, your important outside relationships (bankers, auditors, lawyers) and of course your finance team. (See Road Map to Successful CFO Relationships). With all these people you work with, can you really be lonely?
The answer is yes.
CFOs have told me they feel alone because very few people in their organization understand all the pressures they face, the complexity and the volume of issues they deal with, and the difficulty of the conflicts they manage. The only people that can relate to the challenges CFOs face are other CFOs.
How can a CFO find other CFOs to commiserate with, learn from, and talk to?
There certainly are many groups that bring CFOs together. FEI (both in the USA and Canada) is an example of great organization that brings CFOs together. There are regional groups (like The CFO Roundtable and The CFO Alliance) that bring CFOs together for topics of interest and networking. Social Media CFO groups like CFO or TGL are very visible and active.
There are few places where a CFO can go online to discuss with their peers matters of interest to them. To meet the needs of Lonely CFOs, I am announcing the launch of CFO Lounge, a closed LinkedIn Group specifically created for CFOs to have discussions about the real issues facing them – whether they are technical, interpersonal or strategic in nature.
My role in this group will be to moderate, engage and sometimes lubricate discussion with the CFO members. This group will only be open to CFOs.
If you’re a CFO that would like to be a little less lonely, join your peers at the CFO Lounge on LinkedIn.
Photo Credit Jeffrey Munro
Cindy Kraft says
Great group name, Samuel! I wish you all the best with the new group!
Wendy Hayes says
Wow, it is nice to know that I am not alone. I am in a unique position in that I worked with a group of people a few years ago. We sold the company and now find ourselves working together again. I learned a lot in the last few years. One of the things that I am working on this time around is to involve others more in some of the challenges that I face. It does not eliminate the stress, but it certainly helps to reduce it when they are included in some of the conflict resolution.
Joe Cortelli says
I do like your comments however it has been my experience that too many CFO’s are insulated from outside educated influence. One of my best friends is the number 2 to a CFO for a large company in NJ. He recently told me “my consultant gets paid a lot of fees b/c I see and sign the 5500’s”…..I said do you know what she does for those fees? He said I really don’t??
I said then you are getting ripped off….even though a CFO’s may not cut checks to insurance professionals, you still need to understand how the company is impacted.
Its great to have CFO friends just make sure you get outside advice!
ADESH GUPTA says
The right CFO cannot be lonely. While CEO may be your boss, a sincere understanding with him for the organisational issues is must for CFOs success. Deliberate openly, sell your ideas and rule with CEO. Don’t feel lonely.
Samuel Dergel says
Sometimes it takes courage to not to feel lonely. But yes, it is up to you as CFO to ensure that you are not lonely.
Thanks for the input.