On-boarding a New CFO – Four Imperatives or Considerations

Situation: The Company is hiring their first CFO. How do they integrate this key person into the company?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The company should reflect the values, needs and desires of the CEO.
    • Have a clear discussion and agreement with the CFO candidate on values, role, and organizational structure before hiring or announcing anything to the company.
    • The talents of the CEO and CFO should complement each other.
  • The CEO may put the CFO in charge of areas that they want to delegate – accounting, administration, finance and contracts.
    • The CEO should remain involved in banking relationships.
  • Recommended announcements and timeline:
    • When the new CFO is announced, simultaneously present the new organization chart (broad responsibilities, not detailed position descriptions).
    • Set a timeline for realignment of roles. It is not necessary to specify exact roles at the time of the announcement – let everyone know that this is a work in progress and give a time frame within which all will be resolved.
  • Once the CFO is in place, the CEO and CFO should meet at least weekly, to assure that the CFO has the support and resources needed to accomplish their responsibilities.
    • All decisions within the CFO’s group, personnel responsibilities and any shifts in roles should come from the CFO, with the support of the CEO.
    • This will help the new CFO to more rapidly assimilate into the company and will give them the authority needed to manage their organization.

Key Words: CFO, On-Boarding, Values, Roles, Responsibilities, Authority, Personnel, Delegation 

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