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What Type of CFO Are You?

March 11, 2014
Are you focused more on costs, on metrics or on growth?

There are four basic types of chief financial officers, according to Adam Vandoski, partner at management consulting firm Vantage Cost, and each has their own unique characteristics. See if you can spot your company’s CFO from these descriptions—or if that person is you, see if these portraits make you feel like you’re looking in the mirror.

The Cost-Cutter

Vandoski calls these the “quintessential numbers people,” which sounds better than bean-counters. They’re from the old school of CFOs as they focus mainly on cutting costs, rather than growing revenues.

The Scorecard CFO

These CFOs are fixated on metrics and analytics, and typically have an MBA. Cost management is their stock-in-trade, and they like to keep an eye on and manage everything, especially their CEO’s pet projects.

The Finance Functionalist

These are the rank-and-file CFO types, the kind who put in their dues at their companies rather than being recruited from outside. They’re particularly knowledgeable about accounting and auditing, and since they’ve been on staff for a considerable period of time, they have a healthy amount of institutional knowledge.

The Growth Guru

These CFOs, on the other hand, are often hired guns brought into organizations for specific purposes, such as overseeing mergers and acquisitions. It’s more than likely they came from one of three sectors: investment banking, consulting, or private equity.

Vandoski’s complete post, “The 4 Types of CFOs: Which Are You?,” originally appeared on the Vantage Cost CFO blog. His post is based on the article “Today’s CFO: Which profile best suits your company?,” published by McKinsey & Company.

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