March 31, 2021

131 From CPA to CFO, with thought-leader Jack Sweeney

131 From CPA to CFO, with thought-leader Jack Sweeney

Today I speak with Jack Sweeney, host of the CFO Thought Leader Podcast where he has interviewed almost 700 CFOs about their roles.  Jack is also the winner of the 2018 Excellence in Financial Journalism Award by the NYSSCPAs. A career business...


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Today I speak with Jack Sweeney, host of the CFO Thought Leader Podcast where he has interviewed almost 700 CFOs about their roles. 

Jack is also the winner of the 2018 Excellence in Financial Journalism Award by the NYSSCPAs.

A career business journalist, Jack is the former editor-in-chief of Business Finance Magazine and the founding editor (and former editor-in-chief ) of Consulting Magazine .



In this episode, we discuss:

The bridge from CPA to CFO

What do CFO’s learn along the way that they cite as important for their career growth trajectory?

Many of Jack’s guests cite the acquisition and improvement of communication skills as a key skillset in their growth. CFOs need to be able to articulate themselves clearly, and tell a story about the numbers to different audiences. Getting specific and dedicated training around communication is invaluable. 

Many of Jack’s guests also mentioned they have coaches - executive coaches who can facilitate their personal growth and development. 

Also important is how you introduce yourself and greet yourself. You may have only a few moments of someone’s attention, or an instant to make an impression. CPAs looking to step into CFO-type opportunities would do well to give consideration to how they come across in small moments, and what impression they want to leave behind. 

 

Storytelling

Finance people can be conservative by nature. It’s logical in a world where information you hold must be closely guarded. You can however tell interesting stories about your experiences in business that will be of interest, without revealing unnecessary details. 

Part of the role of a CFO is to understand the vision and direction of the company, and put forth ideas about how they can help this company grow. 

CPAs are great listeners, and are thoughtful and disciplined. Knowing when to listen, and when to speak is a skill acquired over time. 

 

Articulating Value

You need to be able to articulate the value you bring as an individual and a professional in more clearly and in more interesting ways. Think about what you are going to share when you sit around a table: you need to tailor your stories and your narrative to a time sequence and an audience. Learn how to synthesize a story for different people at different altitudes. 

There’s a tight-rope walk from being reactive to being proactive, and in time your instincts will teach you which way to lean. 

 

Emotional Intelligence

The difference between the CPA and the CFO is not more technical information. It’s:

 

  • Reading the room correctly
  • Knowing who the stake-holders are
  • Timing
  • Finesse
  • Smarts, and political smarts

 

We also have a conversation about the low representation of women and diversity; you will have to listen to hear his take. :)

 

Connect with Jack:

Website: https://www.cfothoughtleader.com/