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What Are Privately Held Companies Looking for in a CFO?


Like any business, privately-held companies are looking for certain qualities in a Chief Financial Officer.  They include a firm foundation of skills and experience, along with a work and communication style that fits well with the company’s culture.

In addition to these “must-have” basics, privately-held companies are increasingly looking for a diverse package of specific skills in their CFOs.  These skills include:

  • Technology Awareness.  CFOs need a deep knowledge of the technology that supports both financial work in particular and business in general.  Current issues in technology, including big data management and cloud-computing security, are also key concerns for CFOs.
  • Presentation and Communication.  A CFO must be prepared to explain a company’s financials to diverse audiences – especially the Board of Directors and investors, which may be individual owners, venture capital or private equity firms.  Strong presentation and clear communication skills are essential.
  • Accounting and Finance Management.  In addition to knowing how to talk about the numbers, CFOs must also know where the numbers came from and how to manage them.  This classic “core competency” for CFOs remains a major consideration for privately-held companies.
  • Building Lean and Efficient Financial Teams.  CFOs that can build lean, efficient financial teams are highly valued among privately-held companies.
  • Human Resources Strategy.  The HR function will often report into the CFO at a private company. Understanding the role Human Resources plays in a company’s financial health and future can help a CFO find and gain an edge for a privately-held company in the market.
  • Hands-On Participation.   Professionals who are engaged and involved in their company’s day-to-day business have the knowledge, connections, and flexibility to respond to rapid change or sudden crises.  Consequently, companies value CFOs who demonstrate this kind of “hands-on” approach to their work and their leadership, both of their financial teams and of the company as a whole.

At Conexus Recruiting, our experienced staffing partners help connect privately-held companies to the financial talent they need to meet their business goals. If you are looking for CFO jobs in Los Angeles, contact Conexus today.

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