Aspiring CFOs Need Menu of Traits, Skills

September 23, 2009 ( - A new Deloitte study lays out a road map with steps to take for those with their aspiring eyes on the chief financial officer's office.

The Deloitte study,“Journey to CFO: Perspectives of Women Leaders,” suggested that the personal traits of the candidate and the person’s networking and professional skills can trump the effects of the person’s gender.

The study suggested that four career moves for aspiring CFOs include:

  • Start your career well by joining a large, branded firm.
  • Step up to the plate and seek tasks that others may shy from.
  • Proactively own your career by networking.
  • Always envision what role you want to achieve.

As far as key personal traits being sought, the study listed curiosity, courage, self assurance, and ethical responsibility while top professional skills included communication and sales, listening, negotiation, operations, conflict resolution, and good strategic judgment and prioritization for decisive choices.

“There is no single path to becoming a CFO at a leading company, but an interplay of key personal traits, opportunities, networking, and skills are vital to create a total package essential to becoming a top level CFO,” said Ajit Kambil, author of the study and global research director of Deloitte’s U.S. CFO Program, in a news release. “Most studies today only tell finance and other professionals what courses to focus on to try to move up to the CFO’s office. Our report concludes that certain traits are particularly important to possess for career growth and advancement.”

Kambil noted in the study that, while inequities from gender differences remain in some workplaces, most female CFOs interviewed for the study did not see their own development as differentiated in terms of gender.

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