Vast Majority of CFOs Don’t Believe There is a ‘Ready Now’ Successor for Their Role, According to Korn Ferry Pulse Survey
-- Optimal Use of Data and Analytics Top Strategic Priority –
-- Finance Role has an Eye Toward Diversity --
The survey of 700 CFOs found that only 34 percent agreed there is a
succession plan in place for their role. Further, when asked if there is
an internal, ready now successor, 81 percent of CFOs reported there is
none. This number may be surprising, since a recent
“While many companies may not have a formal succession plan in place,
they are still relying heavily on their internal options versus
When asked what they are most focused on developing in their direct reports, the top two capabilities the CFOs cited are leadership skills/executive presence at 31 percent, followed by strategic thinking at 21 percent.
“Making the step-up to CFO requires candidates to not only possess strong financial acumen, but general management experience and leadership skills,” said Proctor. “CFOs who focus on developing their people in these areas will have a greater chance in grooming successors for the CFO role.”
When asked what their most important strategic priorities are for the year, the largest percentage of CFOs (31 percent) cited the optimal use of data and analytics. An overwhelming majority (84 percent) reported they are already leveraging data in different capacities, such as helping optimize operations, evaluate risk and analyze customer behavior to drive decisions.
Additionally, when it comes to what CFOs wish they could spend more time on, 23 percent said data and business intelligence (BI), the second most common response only after strategy. As CFOs look to instill analytics into the day-to-day operations within Finance, different skillsets on their team may be needed to make this transition. CFOs reported data/BI as one of the three most important capabilities that they are focused on developing in their direct reports.
“In this age of information and the ability to be more predictive, CFOs have the opportunity to drive key business decisions if they have the tools, data and team to interpret. Data and BI can be a huge differentiator in edging out the competition,” said Proctor.
Eye on Diversity
When asked about diversity on their teams, 59 percent of CFOs agreed
that their team is diversified enough to reflect their customer base.
“This contradicts what we generally see in the market—considering our
analysis of the top 1,000 U.S. companies by revenue shows only 16
percent of CFOs are diverse,” said
About the Survey
The global survey of 700 CFOs and Finance leaders took place in late 2017.