The 4 Essential Behavioural Traits CEOs Are Demanding From Finance Directors

Written by Andrew MacAskill on Jul 04, 2016

consumer1It’s a well-known fact that individuals with certain behaviours are better matched to certain jobs. For example, senior sales executives tend to be dominant, driven and goal orientated wheras head analyst’s are typically highly process orientation, like direction, and have a great attention to detail.

But what about Chief Finance Officers?

Last year was my seventeenth in the Finance Executive Recruitment space and one in which I was lucky enough to run numerous searches within the FMCG sector.

As part of our standard assessment process we require the hiring CEO or MD to fill out a behavioural job fit profile which we then match candidates to using our executive intro® platform. Through this process we gathered data about senior executives behavioural traits via the McQuaig Psychometric System, on behalf of FMCG businesses.

Our study looked at 12 Finance based executive hires and our findings highlight the key behavioural traits CEOs were insisting upon when hiring CFOs in late 2014 and early 2015.

So what are the key behavioural traits that CEOs and MDs particularly looking for when recruiting Finance Leaders into their executive teams?

1. Dominant, Goal-Orientated Risk Takers

Finance Directors are required in FMCG businesses to challenge the status quo and are no longer expected to just keep a handle on a steady state operation.

Traditionally risk adverse, the Finance Leaders that are now most in demand are passionate about brands and products and engage at a consumer level to buy into and drive potential new products and concepts.

2. Sociable & Outgoing

Not two words that meet the traditional Accountant stereotype! That stereotype however is changing. Accountants need to be people-people, popular and likeable in order to effectively influence and partner stakeholders to affect informed business decision-making.

 CEOs in the consumer sector repeatedly ask for a CFO who can influence and build meaningful strategic alliances with external parties and managing a diverse and often international team to commercial success. 

3. Driven, Sense of Urgency, Seeks Variety

Agile and flexible thinking is key in our innovative technologically advanced world no matter what profession or industry and CFOs are no exception. 

CEOs now want me to find Finance Leaders who demonstrate adaptability and can keep pace with fast moving market trends in a consumer led environment.  With an increased focus on Net Revenue Management the CFO must be able to understand customers perception of product value and accurately align product prices, placement and availability within a given customer segment in real time. 

4. Independent, Strong Minded, Determined and Self-Reliant

The CFO role is now increasingly the number two to the CEO, and viewed as a natural sparring partner not a ‘yes’ man.  The modern CEO wants to be challenged, as they know it holds the key to progress.

With unrivalled access to the numbers that display company performance, the Finance Director must form opinions and back their insights and decisions. At the same time they have the freedom to think outside the box and initiate innovation in product development while embracing new engineering and technology systems.

So those are the 4 key behavioural traits the boards of FMCG businesses have been asking us for most commonly in 2015/2016. If you are a CFO or an aspiring CFO these are the traits that we have found are the most in-demand and therefore the areas you need to have a plan to develop in order to maintain career progression.

What Next?

We are seeing more and more that companies are demanding scientific ways to match candidates to their roles. The rewards are increased retention and culturally aligned individuals who can have an immediate impact on a businesses performance.

Download our ebook “Eliminating Deception To Make Better Hires” where we look at the different ways hiring managers can use science and technology to find better candidates who will stick.

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