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DNA OF A CFO

Its more than just numbers; its about people.

hays.ca/dnaCFO

CONTENTS

ABOUT THE REPORT

Introduction message from Rowan OGrady


1. Summary of findings

2
2

The DNA of a CFO


1. Qualifications that really matter
2. Personal career planning
3. Getting the right people on the team
4. Investing in the future of your team

3
4
6
7
8

Beyond the numbers

Hays recommendations

9
11

About the respondents


View from the top

13

What does it take to become a Chief Financial Officer


in Canada?
This report is designed to give you insight into what it takes to
achieve a leading role in finance in Canada. Which qualifications
really matter? How important is international experience,
bilingualism, experience in multiple industries and sectors?
Which personal characteristics are common among our finance
leaders? Based on the results of 150 CFO survey respondents,
a look at 100 CFO resumes and interviews with leading CFOs
today we have put together this report to help you map out
your career path.

METHODOLOGY
Survey
150 finance leaders who hold the title of CFO in March 2014
were surveyed. They were asked questions about their
education, background, qualifications, international experience,
responsibilities, challenges and personal aspirations.
Resume review
100 CFO resumes were analyzed, looking at commonalities and
trends of education and qualifications, industry experience,
international experience, professional associations, personal
interests and skills.

Based on the above methodology, we came to the conclusion


that you have to have a strong foundation in terms of
accounting and finance qualifications to progress in finance,
however to achieve the CFO title requires personal career
planning, hiring the right people and investing in your teams.
This report is organized based on the insight of these key
findings.
While every care is taken in the collection and compilation of data, this
report is interpretive and indicative, not conclusive. This information
should be used as a guide only.

hays.ca/dnaCFO

INTRODUCTION
On behalf of Hays I am pleased to launch the first results from
our DNA series DNA of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Hays
has deep expertise in the finance sector. Weve specialized in
this industry for 30 years providing finance recruitment services
in more than 25 markets worldwide.
In Canada, the finance and accounting service is a corner stone of our
business. Weve placed thousands of finance professionals across a
variety of sectors from construction and Information Technology, to legal,
retail and energy. This gives Hays a unique perspective on the definitive
path to a successful career in this vocation.
Our goal is to create a report that removes the mystery from how to become
a CFO in Canada by illuminating the common traits, skills and challenges
associated with this career path. This is more than a summary of typical
qualifications amassed through years on the job (although we have that too).
We wanted to delve deeper, to get a sense of what separates candidates from
the pack.
To do that, Hays gathered information from more than 100 CFO resumes,
then surveyed 150 CFOs with probing questions about their development,
and finally we interviewed a select few of leading CFOs to build a profile of
a finance professional that has reached the top. By doing this we unveiled
a few key conclusions that make up the DNA of a CFO, which are personal
career planning, getting the right people on the team and investing in your
team. Above a strong finance foundation, based on the findings, these are the
necessary elements to becoming a CFO in Canada.
I personally want to thank all those that participated and shared their
stories as part of this initiative. Your contribution and input will help the
next generation of CFOs achieve their goals, and help current employers
cultivate star performers.
Rowan OGrady
President, Hays Canada

2DNA of a CFO

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Our research and interviews
tell us that this role has evolved
considerably, moving way beyond
the traditional number crunching.
The foundation for success today
is built on leadership. More
specifically it grows from the
CFOs capacity to manage human
capital and demonstrate the softer
skills associated with motivating
individuals and teams, and
building consensus with varying
department leads. The CFOs role
is to support and work alongside
the CEO, providing a strong
commercial value. The need for
these broader skills has introduced
personality fit as a key driver to
success. And while this driver
is more subjective than other
skills, it should nonetheless act
as a guiding light for employers
hiring CFOs, and current finance
professionals hoping to transition
into this role.
For employers qualifications
and technical expertise can be
learned on the job. Whats much
harder to do is teach someone to
live and breathe the companys
core values. Finance professionals
that mesh with your managerial
style, and have clear leadership
capabilities are more likely to
drive business growth. This is
also imperative for succession
planning, and according to

our survey almost a quarter of


respondents hope to one day
become the CEO or president.
Aspiring CFOs should also heed
this advice your soft skills
are just as important as sound
financial practices and business
acumen. You will frequently be
asked to stretch how you define
your vocation to include less
traditional qualities. Your ability
to get along in an office setting,
motivate staff and communicate
to both internal and external
parties will form the basis of
how you are measured.
For anyone who has ambitions
of having a successful career
in finance, our report provides
clear insight in key areas:
personal career planning,
qualifications that really matter,
common mistakes to avoid,
and people management.
We encourage you to watch
our DNA of a CFO video
found at hays.ca/dnaCFO
to hear from leading CFOs
at Molson-Coors Canada,
Walmart Canada, Canadian
Tire Corporation and Aecon
Group Inc. about their
journey.

DNA OF
A CFO
The following section presents the findings from
the survey results and resume analysis.
In this section youll find key insights on:
Qualifications that really matter
Personal career planning
Getting the right people on the team
Investing in the future of your team members

Seize the opportunity to do different


things. I was in real estate and
construction before I went into retail
and the versatility of my experience
and confidence to pick up new projects
is what stood out in my background
and professional profile for employers.
Dean McCann, CFO, Canadian Tire Corporation

3DNA of a CFO

95% of CFOs
are happy with
their career
choice

QUALIFICATIONS THAT
REALLY MATTER
Credibility is earned through leadership
and demonstrating you can deliver on
the full project. Taking on opportunities
and projects that start and end with
you, will help build accountability into
your resume.
David Smales, CFO, Aecon Group Inc.

While softer skills and building varied experiences will


help professionals in finance advance their careers much
faster, it still wont be possible without some baseline
qualifications. We reviewed more than 100 CFO resumes
to determine things such as which designations were
the most prominent, typical progression path and location
of experience and then surveyed CFOs to get a sense of
which ones they valued the most.

CFO RESUME
Education
25% have a BA in Business Administration
32% have a Bachelor of Commerce Degree
20% have a Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
6% have a BA in Economics
22% majored in Accounting
O
 ther common credentials include Health
Administration and P. Eng.

It is important to note that 15 per cent of survey respondents said that the specificities of ones education
and training doesnt matter. Its about the total package, including experiences, personality fit and the
ability to lead by example.

Designations
5
 5% hold a CA
16% hold a CGA
18% hold a CMA
13% hold a CPA
6% hold a CSC

KEY INSIGHT
Sixty-seven per cent of CFOs said that after
education and work experience, the number
one selling point that stood out in their resume
that helped secure their job was professional
accomplishments, followed by 17 per cent who
said reputation of previous employers.

10% say the Masters of Business


Administration (MBA) is the most
important credential to have.

Almost half (47%) believe this is imperative to becoming a CFO.


23% say the CPA designation is the most imperative, and is assumed that
this may grow in prominence based on the recent developments in Canada.

Skills
58% dont list technical skills. Of those that do, the most common listed include:
26% GAAP | 20% Microsoft Office i.e. Advanced Excel | 10% ERP SAP | 8% Greatplains,
Hyperion, Quickbooks | 4% Oracle, PeopleSoft

Awards and recognition


Only 7% list awards. Examples include the ICABA community service award, CMA volunteer of the year
award and recognition for being keynote speakers at national events such as the National Treasury
Credit Union annual event.
4DNA of a CFO

The CFO role carries a lot of responsibility


but it also provides the opportunity to
make a difference. Its the job of leaders to
anticipate change and find ways to address
and capitalize on it. The Canadian CPA is
more than an accounting designation; it is
also a business credential. We firmly believe
that organizations of all types will value
the CPA designation for its broad financial
expertise, strategic thinking, business insight,
management skills and leadership.
Kevin Dancey, president and CEO, Chartered Professional
Accountants of Canada

KEY INSIGHT
CFOs rank strategic planning, commercial
understanding and people management as
the top three most important aspects to the
CFO role. These are leadership qualities that
are developed and learned through a broad
range of experiences. Based on the results
from the survey, 100% of CFOs have experience
in functional areas outside of finance, which
according to a CFO survey respondent is
essential to understanding the full spectrum of
the organization. As a CFO you are involved in
all aspects of the business and it is key that you
have a deep understanding to add value.

Industry experience
70% have experience in
multiple industries.

More than 1/3 (36%) listed working for a Big Four company at some point during
their career. Those with Big Four became a CFO role in just under 14 years. Those
that didnt, took on average two years longer to attain the same role.

Progression
The following outlines the typical roles and average time spent in these functions on the path to becoming a CFO:
37% were a VP of finance

56% 56 years
27% 7+ years

33% held this title immediately before becoming a CFO

27% held a director role

40% 23 years
33% 47 years

13% held this title immediately before becoming a CFO

20% held an analyst/planning role

70% 23 years

65% were a controller

43% for 23 years


20% for 45 years

46% were an accountant

41% for 23 years


30% for 45 years

27% were in audit

46% for 23 years


30% for 45 years

13% were in tax/treasury

53% 23 years

26% held this title immediately before becoming a CFO

First accounting and finance role


The following outlines the typical roles that CFOs began their careers in accounting and finance.
39% started as an accountant
10% started as an auditor
4% started as a CFO

Personal interests
28% list personal interests,
ranging from sports, spirituality,
reading, and cooking.
According to the survey,
the number one thing
CFOs do in their spare
time is spend time with
their families (84%)

13% started as an analyst


8% started as a director/executive
4% started in accounts payable

12% started in payroll


8% started as a controller
1% started in accounts receivable

Domestic vs. international experience


41% have international experience, 15% have experience within
Canada, and 44% have worked exclusively in one province.
According to the survey,
the majority of CFOs (57%)
international experience is in the
U.S., the second most dominant
location is Europe at 36%.

18% of CFOs say the biggest decision


they made in their career in order
to achieve the role they are in today
was moving internationally for a
career opportunity.

Associations/memberships
Approximately 70% list professional associations that they are members of i.e. FEI. 55% sit on a board of directors.
5DNA of a CFO

PERSONAL CAREER
PLANNING
During your career you need to make choices about
the different experiences and jobs you want to have.
This is the greatest challenge to your career path,
making the right choices, at the right time. Ensure
you develop the required skills and competencies in a
balanced way. Some jobs might not look sexy but are
essential to becoming a successful CFO.
Wouter Vosmeer, CFO, Molson Coors Canada

What does a roadmap to success look like? It may have started out a
little murky at first. Forty-five per cent of todays CFOs didnt aspire to
reach this goal when they first started their careers, and approximately
15 per cent had no idea what they initially wanted to be. And yet once
they arrive, many are motivated to push for greater responsibility.
Twenty per cent of CFOs currently aspire to be a president or CEO,
and 30 per cent are looking for a larger CFO or finance director role
within an organization. Its also likely that there will be bumps along
the way. Nearly 40 per cent of finance professionals found the director
to executive level the most difficult to reach.
Even those that have clear ideas about what they want to achieve in
their profession should be open minded. According to Dean McCann,
CFO from Canadian Tire Corporation, you should be prepared to take on
the unexpected. He comments, youll be faced with many opportunities
along the way that you may not think you are qualified for, require you
to change industries, or even professions. Taking opportunities that
force you to learn is exciting, and is what will help launch your career
and diversify your background.
For example, the majority of CFOs have worked in functions other
than finance 30 per cent actually left the path they were on to
pursue another career opportunity, usually for one to three years
before coming back to the finance world. Forty-three per cent have
worked in human resources, 46 per cent in information technology, 45
per cent in operations, 30 per cent in office support, and 22 per cent in
property and facilities management. Be open to rounding out what you
know about managing a business, it will help develop your ability to
6DNA of a CFO

My first accounting and finance role was:


39% accountant | 13% analyst | 18% accounting/
finance administrator | 10% auditor |
8% controller | 8% director/executive | 4% CFO
45% held a VP of finance role directly
before becoming CFO.
52% have international experience
and 94% say this has had a positive
to very positive impact on their career.
33% are bilingual, and 62% say being
bilingual has had no impact on their career.
61% say operations is the most
important department to partner
with and gain experience in.
30% rank strategic planning as the most
important aspect of the CFO role; 22% rank
commercial understanding, 14% rank people
management, superseding financial analysis,
working capital and investor relations.
44% achieved their CFO role between 1020
years from starting finance; 28% within 10 years
and 29% in 20+ years.

provide strategic counsel later on and make you a valued member


of the executive team.
The key learning is to understand that the path isnt necessarily
straight forward. With the role of the CFO becoming more diverse
in terms of commercial responsibilities, stakeholder management
and strategic planning for the whole business, not just in the
finance function, branching out and getting the necessary
experience will pay dividends in the long run.

GETTING THE RIGHT


PEOPLE ON THE TEAM
Having the right fit is very important. Every working
culture is different, and hiring people that will fit both
your office culture and finance team is essential.
David Smales, CFO, Aecon Group Inc.

Forty per cent of CFOs say they were hired for their current role
based on personality fit. You have to have the right qualifications
and background, but at the end of the day, the people you hire must
fit with your team and culture of your business. So where do you find
the right people? Over a third of CFOs were recruited by a recruitment
agency, and another third were referred via a colleague from their
professional network.
Building a network of qualified professionals is a key factor in the
search to finding the right talent. Establishing a quality network must
extend beyond a large pile of business cards. It can be done via digital
channels such as mobile and social media. Approximately 70 per cent
of CFOs rank networking as very to extremely important to becoming
a CFO, and over 40 per cent engage in networking via social media
and online channels. As a manager, you should be connecting with as
many like-minded professionals as possible. This will help you establish
a readily available pool of talent for future recruitment purposes.

The job I got with Walmart, came from social media.


Its important to understand how social media impacts
your business and your career.
Bill Tofflemire, CFO, Walmart Canada
7DNA of a CFO

69% say networking is very to extremely


important to becoming a CFO.
20% engage in networking activities
on a monthly basis; 45% every other
month to quarterly.
42% network through social media
and online channels such as webinars
and tutorials.
70% network via industry and
technical events.
58% network via social events.
40% network via professional memberships.
31% attained their current CFO role
via a colleague; 33% were recruited
via a recruitment company.
11% through a job board; 13% via a friend;
10% directly via networking.

INVESTING IN THE
FUTURE OF YOUR
TEAM MEMBERS
Today, even at the lower levels of finance,
were screening for future leaders of the company.
Who has stronger talent development skills, who can
collaborate better, implement strategy? These are the
key elements were looking for in candidates today.
Bill Tofflemire, CFO, Walmart Canada

It may come as no surprise, but more than 50 per cent of CFOs


maintain that direct managers and colleagues have the biggest
influence on career development. This emphasizes how important
soft skills have become in this role. There is an expectation that CFOs
work well with everyone, lead by example and help motivate staff to
draw out their best qualities. Eighty-seven per cent of CFOs today are
responsible for managing teams, and people management is ranked as
one of the most important aspects of the role (15% say it is the single
most important aspect).
Working well with people is a two-way street. It isnt always about
how you can help others. Mentors play a significant role in helping
financial professionals become CFOs. Sixty-five per cent of CFOs
had a mentor at some point in their career, and 22 per cent had one
during their first management role. Almost a quarter (20%) maintain
a mentor relationship even once theyre in the CFO role. Clearly they
see value in having someone help steward their growth. In fact,
almost 50 per cent of CFOs rank having a mentor as extremely
important a corresponding number believe they couldnt have
become a CFO without one.
Time management, especially as it pertains to ones personal life can
be a pain point for CFOs. Forty-seven per cent currently have difficulty
finding a work-life balance. Thirty-three per cent attribute this to work
pressure, and 27 per cent to work load. Supporting your team requires
not only the right people but the right number of people to increase
staff productivity and effectiveness. Managing teams and work load
effectively is a crucial element to becoming a CFO.
8DNA of a CFO

65% have had a mentor throughout


their career.
26% are unsure if they would have
achieved their role today without a
mentor; 17% say they wouldnt have
become a CFO without their mentor.
46% say having a mentor is crucial to
ones career path.
36% of CFOs mentors were not in finance.
47% rank having a work-life balance as
extremely difficult.
33% say work pressure impedes on establishing
a work life balance; 27% attribute it to work load,
and 10% to travel, 8% to being understaffed/demand
by staff.
74% rank professional development as very to
extremely important; 67% engage in professional
development every month to once quarterly.

BEYOND NUMBERS
FOUNDATIONS FOR SUCCESS
Today, having deep financial
experience is considered
table stakes. Successful
CFOs must also understand
all areas of business
operations, marketing, IT,
legal and new business
development. The role
extends beyond managing
the bottom line. You must
see the big picture, and be
a true business leader. How
you interact with people
to motivate them, include
them in the companys
success, and build a team
first mentality are true
hallmarks of a successful
CFO.

Today you have to be a multi-faceted


individual, balance both commercial
understanding and awareness, and be
willing to not only deliver results,
but also communicate to both internal
and external audiences about the
project at hand.
This aspect of the CFO role can cause
internal friction for those that are
transitioning into a more senior role.
According to our survey, almost a
quarter (20 per cent) of CFOs second
guessed their career path during their
first taste of management because
they didnt anticipate taking on these
responsibilities. Understanding that
this is a natural extension of your role
will allow you to quickly pivot when
the need arises.

This wasnt the case five to 10 years


ago. According to David Lapp, CFO
of Freedom Concepts Inc., the role
of a CFO has changed considerably.

Soft skills; the ability to work with and motivate


people is the key attribute to becoming a CFO.
Canadian CFO survey respondent

9DNA of a CFO

Being the leader


The survey findings show that there
are some very clear and definitive
attributes that finance professionals
must possess to be a leading CFO.
For example, more than 25 per cent
of CFOs rank credibility as the
single most important attribute.
Whats implicit in this finding is
the CFO must be an effective
communicator to clearly demonstrate
the impact that his or her work is
having on the team and business.
To help more finance professionals
develop the necessary management
skills needed to become a credible
leader, employers should review
internal training and professional
development opportunities, especially
at the mid-level management stage.
Helping finance professionals adopt
these skills will solidify their role as a
leader in the company later on.

HAYS RECOMMENDATIONS
Develop a personal career plan. Take control of your own career
and personal development. Being open to new opportunities and
chance is common advice from the four leading CFOs as seen on
our accompanying video. Simultaneously, it is important to have a
sense of where you want to be long-term. Think about what you
could be in five to 10 years time. Although this may well change,
having a vision of your future self is a valuable guiding light. Are
you aware of your weaknesses and development needs? Find a
mentor that you can discuss your goals. It may not be possible to
plan an exact route to the CFO role but with a future goal in mind
and a commitment to continuous improvement you will be on the
right path.
Get the right people on the team. Having the right people, culture
and skill sets on your team is essential to your success. Proactive
and deliberate recruitment of these people may be the only
way to create a team that can truly move your department or
organization forward in a significant way.
Think about what would constitute a great team and commit
to a road map to create one.
Invest in your team members. Think about the career
development of each person on your team. Ask each person what
their own personal career and development goals are. Share your
succession plan and make sure your team is aware of the career
path options available to them. Without a successful team behind
you, your own career aspirations may not materialize as quickly as
you want them to.

FIT
Almost half (40%) believe they were hired for their current CFO role based
on personality fit.
The number one reason CFOs have been let go is due to a personality clash
with a manager.

MANAGEMENT
23% rank communication and people management as the single most
important aspect of the role of a CFO.
48% have second guessed their career path during their first
management role.
45% say the biggest mistake they have ever made in their professional
career has been a managerial error.

Dedication, hard work and


Integrity are key building
blocks in becoming a CFO.
You must have the fortitude
to be able to deliver both
the good and unpleasant
messages bringing together
superior people skills. In the
end, your people skills will
determine your degree
of success.

YOUR BRAND/PROFILE
45% are unsure if they would have achieved their CFO role without a mentor.
70% rate networking as very to extremely important to becoming a CFO.
Over 30% secured their current role via a recruitment company;
another 30% were referred via their network.

Canadian CFO survey respondent

ITS ABOUT PEOPLE


Fit, management and personal profile are all key
aspects integral to the journey of becoming a
CFO that are reliant on the dynamics of people.
Become a finance leader by understanding
how the people you manage and report to
will impact your career; the secret truth to
the DNA of a CFO.

10DNA of a CFO

ABOUT THE RESPONDENTS


Are you:

I currently work and reside in:

Male
Female

79.05%
20.95%

Please select your age bracket:

10.8%
20.9%
0.7%
0.7%
0.0%
0.0%
2.0%
0.0%
64.2%
0.0%
0.7%
0.0%
0.0%

What is the size of your organization by total annual revenue?

2030
3040
4050
5060
60+

11DNA of a CFO

Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Nunavut
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon

0.7%
11.5%
43.2%
33.1%
11.5%

<$5M
$510M
$1025M
$25100M
$100500M
$500M1B
$1B+

13.5%
8.8%
13.5%
25.7%
21.6%
8.1%
8.8%

When you achieved your current role who was the first person you called?

Mom/female guardian
Dad/male guardian
Partner/spouse
Kids
Friend
Peer/colleague
Other family member
Your recruiter

1.7%
0.8%
87.4%
0.0%
3.4%
3.4%
1.6%
1.7%

What activities do you do in your spare time?

100
80
60
40
20

Sports
Travel
Books/film
Spending time
with family
Dining/entertainment
Gaming
Cooking/gardening/
home improvements

Who was the biggest influence in your career?

Mom
Dad
Direct Manager
Teacher
Colleague
Friend

6.7%
23.5%
27.7%
2.5%
24.5%
15.1%

Very happy
Happy
Neutral
Unhappy
Very unhappy

58.0%
37.8%
1.7%
2.5%
0.0%

Are you happy with your career choice?

72.3%
65.5%
63.0%
84.0%
59.7%
5.9%
31.9%

What best describes the reason you chose a career in finance?

The role of a CFO today is out in front of people and


changing with technology and the demands of business
and the economy. Accepting change as part of the role
and being well versed in change management will help
you become a finance leader.
David Lapp, CFO, Freedom Concepts.

12DNA of a CFO

Earning potential
13.6%
Passion/interest
45.8%
Family tradition/legacy
2.5%
Talent
13.6%
By fluke/stumbled into it 18.6%
Peer group
3.4%
Prestige of role
2.5%

VIEW FROM THE TOP


Want to hear from influential leaders in the finance community in Canada?
As part of the Hays Canada DNA series, we spoke to top CFOs about their
journey to achieving their career success.
Watch this short video and hear directly from the following CFOs, gaining
valuable advice about the path to becoming a finance leader:
Dean McCann,
CFO, Canadian Tire Corporation

David Smales,
CFO, Aecon Group Inc.

Bill Tofflemire,
CFO, Walmart Canada

Wouter Vosmeer,
CFO, Molson Coors Canada

hays.ca/dnaVIDEOS

13DNA of a CFO

VIEW FROM THE TOP


Q&A with
David Lapp
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Freedom Concepts Inc.

David Lapp has over 20 years of experience as a leader in the


Canadian finance community. He was the Vice President of Marketing
and Director of Sales with DBI, Financial Investment Representative
with Investors Group, and Executive Consultant with Push Ltd before
becoming the CFO and COO with Freedom Concepts. His diverse
and vast career is what many up-and-coming finance professionals
would see as their ultimate career goal. David shares some of his
experiences, insight and advice about the path to achieving a CFO
role in Canada.

Davids survey answers...


Have you always aspired to
becoming a CFO?
I never woke up saying I am going
to become a CFO, that path just
evolved over time. My background
is diverse which I believe has
helped me achieve the career I
have today, giving me a broader
understanding of business and the
importance of strategic planning.
My uncle was a CFO, and when
I was younger the role always
appeared to be in an ivory
tower, away from everything.
14DNA of a CFO

Today, the role has drastically


changed; you really are a part
of the total business.
What are the biggest changes
to the role of a CFO compared
to 510 years ago?
Today the role is more about
strategy. You have to understand
the business, all functional areas
in addition to finance and use your
finance knowledge and expertise
to build a strategy that is going to
help the business get to the next

level in terms of ROI and growth.


For example, today you are seeing
a lot more of a hybrid executive
role between operations and
finance such as the CFOO title.
What is the biggest surprise
about the CFO role?
For me the biggest surprise
as I was moving up the ranks
was how much finance is
becoming about relationships
with staff, customers and
vendors. Having the finance
qualifications and experiences
is essential, you have to know
how to implement revenue
growth strategies, execute proper
forecasting and projections, that is
a given. Today however, you have
to be a multi-skill set individual,
a bit of a renaissance individual
who is the total package. I think
one key piece to the evolution
of the role from when my uncle
was a CFO is that, in the 80s and
early 90s you had to be able to
build the strategy. Today you not
only have to build the strategy,
but explain, educate and
implement the strategy.
What soft skills do you believe
are essential to be a CFO today?
There are four big ones that I
believe are crucial to the role.
You have to be a leader for one.
And to be a leader you have to
have strong communication skills.
You have to be a strategic
thinker and lastly, you have
to be able to live and breathe
change management. The role, as
well as businesses, are constantly

changing. Being willing to be open


and adopt change will help make
you a better overall CFO.
The CFO today is out in front
of people, more like a CEO role.
You have to be able to deliver
both in and out of the books.
This makes the role appealing
and more exciting in my opinion
then in previous times.
What technical skills do you
think are integral to being
a CFO in Canada?
The fundamentals I believe
are strong accounting skills,
risk experience (cyber financial)
and working experience with
ERP systems. This is the base.
However today, I believe the key
change is that you have to have
a strong understanding of big
data and analytics. This, in my
opinion, is the make or break of
the future for a CFO. Youll provide
better value to the business both
internally and externally by
understanding data and how
to use it for the benefit of
the company.
Throughout your journey,
what one thing helped you
achieve your role today?
Mentorship and networking.
I dont believe I would have been
as successful in my career without
the support and help of my peers.
Working with my peers and using
my mentors has provided me the
support and advice needed to
make the right decisions for my
career. I use social media often

as a tool for advice. I have


embraced LinkedIn, for example,
as a method to get advice,
job hunt, get critiques and
insight on the ideas and projects
Im working on. One example
includes, getting advice from
a discussion on LinkedIn to take
a LEAN accounting course,
which helped propel my career
in the manufacturing industry.
Without this advice my path
may have been quite different.
Have you ever worked abroad?
Yes I have, the longest single
stretch was for six months.
Ive worked in Japan, Australia and
Los Angeles. This international
experience has been very
beneficial to my career. It has
helped me develop stronger
relationships with stakeholders,
provided me with better cultural
business understanding as well
as a better understanding for
the differences in accounting
worldwide. This has helped me
become a well-crafted individual
by having had multi-faceted
experiences.

To read more profiles


of CFOs interviewed for
this project please visit:
hays.ca/dnaCFO.

#WHATCOULDYOUBE

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