The Chief Financial Officer of an organisation is entrusted with the task of managing the finances and accounts of the organisation. It takes years of skill, knowledge, and expertise to be able to figure out ways in which a company can flourish and manage its finances well.
In order to become a CFO, one has to take strategic steps in the right direction. Becoming a CFO requires an individual to gain leadership skills, and have other abilities like power, financial acumen, and strategy. Starting from gaining the right educational qualification to developing connections with the right people, there is a step-by-step guide that all aspiring CFOs should follow.
An online CFO course from a recognised source can also give you an edge. This article discusses the steps that will help an individual establish a career as a CFO. Read on to learn more.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become a CFO
Becoming a CFO can be a lucrative career option. Just like any other profession, it takes an individual to jump through a number of hoops to become a CFO. Discussed below is a step-by-step guide on how one can become a successful CFO.
Acquiring an education in the relevant field
Employers ideally look for candidates for the post of CFO who have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to finance. This helps to strengthen the foundation of knowledge. Aspiring CFOs popularly opt for a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance, however, economics may be a good choice too.
To develop a deeper understanding of topics like analysis, budgeting, or risk management, candidates may also pursue short online courses in compliance management, risk management, strategic business management, import and export management, etc. This will help them to brush up their skills.
Gaining industry experience through an internship
You can begin this as early as you are still pursuing your undergraduate studies. However, after you complete your undergraduate course, consider opting for an internship in finance or accounting. This will help you gain hands-on experience and understand the practices and processes better.
Try searching for entry-level positions such as staff accountant, accounting assistant, financial analyst, or tax preparer. These roles usually have great scope for professional growth and help the candidates develop very strong skill sets, thereby preparing them for better job opportunities in the future.
After you have explored the entry-level opportunities, you can shift to managerial roles and explore the opportunities that require excellent leadership qualities. Such roles include finance manager, internal audit manager, controller, etc. These roles can help you develop team leadership and management skills, which are the prerequisites for becoming a successful CFO.
Upskill through advanced education
In this age of cut-throat competition, a simple graduation may not be enough to earn you a lucrative career. If you are willing to pursue a role as big as that of a CFO, you need to acquire degrees in higher education like a master's degree in finance, or an MBA.
Opting for an advanced degree can help you improve your managerial skills. These courses have real-time case studies that allow you to practically apply your theoretical knowledge. Therefore, add weight to your CV and ensure your holistic development by pursuing a degree in advanced education.
Additional certification courses appear appealing to employers. If you pursue an online CFO program, you will be able to enrich your skills. Some certification courses also help you acquire in-depth knowledge about specific domains. For instance, the Certified Public Accountants certification course can help you develop your skills in finance and accounting.
There are IIM Indore certification courses available online that can help you enhance your skills and take you a step forward toward achieving your goal. Any working professional who is looking forward to upskilling or mastering a specialisation in the field of finance can opt for an online CFO course.
Develop a strong network
There is no substitute for building a strong network and gaining popularity among strong industry leaders. The more you gain exposure in the industry, the better your chances of getting professional opportunities. When you attend professional organisations and industry events, you will be able to meet eminent professionals and leaders.
This will not only give vent to new development opportunities and better career prospects but will also open the scope for better mentorship, which will help you improve your career.
Your resume is a representation of your skills and abilities, therefore it is important to make sure that your resume highlights all the relevant experiences, skills, and points that set you apart from your competitors. An IIM Indore certification course also teaches the candidates how to build strong resumes which can arrest the immediate attention of the employers. An impactful resume automatically increases your chances of being hired.
All these steps will help to ensure that you can establish a successful career as a CFO. The CFO of an organisation helps to ensure that the company is well-positioned, the working capital is optimised, and all the resources are allocated effectively. He also identifies the opportunities for investment and plans strategies to achieve the maximum returns on investments.
A role of such grave responsibilities takes a lot of skill and expertise, which can be attained through these above-mentioned steps, one at a time.
If you are looking forward to becoming a CFO, you can consider joining an online CFO program. This postgraduate certificate program has been designed by IIM Indore, especially for emerging CFOs. This IIM Indore certification course by Imarticus Learning is a 12-month program that helps learners develop a complete understanding of financial management and services.
The course will equip the learners with technical, analytical, and strategic skills which will prepare them to assume the role of a CFO and solve real-time problems. Check out the official website to learn more.