By Gino Blefari
Last week while my travels found me in Las Vegas, our finance team—led by Brian Peterson, CFO of HSF Affiliates—was in Braselton, GA, at the beautiful Château Élan Winery & Resort for the 2015 CFO Conference.
It was a classic case of divide and conquer: Brian held down the fort on the East Coast while I attended meetings in the West, thousands of miles apart from my Chief Financial Officer but still understanding that our key messages must be perfectly aligned. This conscious alignment is vital not only to our operations here at HSF Affiliates but also to any company with a CEO and CFO working closely together for the betterment of all.
In most industries, this relationship wasn’t always as tight-knit as it is today. For years, the CFO was thought of as the person at the helm of the finance function in an organization, a man or woman of spreadsheets and economic models who crunched numbers while the CEO exercised his or her business savvy to steer a company in the direction of increased growth.
Today, however, this stereotype has been obliterated; the relationship between the CEO and CFO has completely changed. Chief Financial Officers are called upon by their Chief Executive Officers to help with the organization’s strategic planning and oversight, sometimes stepping far outside the boundaries of traditional financial projects because it’s widely recognized that their expertise is a necessary, valuable component to accomplish a company’s wildly important goals.
So, what’s the message? The next time you have an important, strategic decision to make, don’t go at it alone. Look to your CFO, to your marketing director, to your mentor, to your sales team with boots on the ground … someone with specialized knowledge who can provide perspective outside of your own. As leaders, trusting in our team isn’t just good practice, it’s the only way to succeed.