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Time for a new CFO? Signs you need one and KPIs for the one you have.

Corporate Leadership | Financial Strategy | Organizational Transformation

December is a time of year organizations reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. As the person in charge of your company’s financial health, a CFO is a vitally important role. But how can you tell if you have a good CFO ?

A great CFO holds two jobs: managing the accounting and finance team and contributing to company strategy. A good CFO does both, a bad CFO can only do one or the other (or sometimes neither!).


A CFO struggling with managing the accounting and finance team will typically exhibit several of these behaviors:

  • Spends lots of time in the books, making journal entries, or reviewing accounting work.

  • Is the only person who knows how to update the forecast, build a budget, or analyze data.

  • Has high employee churn in their team.

  • Uses an “all-in-one” model for forecasting, variance analysis, and budgeting.

  • Consistently blames issues on the accounting system or their team members.

  • Is consistently late producing financial reports.

A CFO struggling with strategy will typically exhibit several of these behaviors:

  • Cannot provide you insights to help drive business decisions.

  • Is unable to make recommendations to you and other managers.

  • Always agrees with you and never pushes back against your ideas.

  • Cannot present confidently in front of your Board of Directors, Advisors, or Banking partners.

  • Usually recommends cost cuts as a default remedy to boost profits.

Your business deserves better

A good CFO uses savvy financial strategies and data analysis to improve cash flow, grow revenues, and grow profits. A good CFO collaborates with other managers to guide their actions towards the company’s financial goals and uses their leadership to keep financial departments focused on goals and handle bank and investor relationships. Most importantly, when it is time to exit the company, CFOs use their expertise in your business to impress acquirers and execute the sale of your business.

As you assess the strength of your CFO, here are important key performance indicators to ensure this role is a strong contributor to your organization’s future.

CFO’s management effectiveness checklist:

  • Are the books closed consistently within 10-15 days of month end? (Best practice is 5 days)

  • Can the CFO explain changes in profitability, costs, inventory, etc.?

  • Does the CFO own failures and misses, or do they blame errors on other people?

  • Does the CFO have a low employee churn rate on their team?

  • Has the CFO innovated changes to the accounting process, forecasting, or budgeting?

CFO’s strategic effectiveness checklist:

  • Does the CFO engage with my managers in forecasting, or do they stay siloed within their department?

  • Do I value my CFO’s input on key business decisions? Has their opinion influenced my decisions?

  • Does the CFO analyze data based on business needs, or do they analyze based on their own personal fascinations?

  • Does my CFO have good rapport with our bank, our investors, and our board of directors?

  • Will my CFO be confident presenting to potential buyers of our business?

Maybe there is a better way?

If you find you need the services of a professional CFO, but you’re unable to bring on a full-time executive, SeatonHill is an excellent alternative. You may be the owner of a small business or startup, ready to take your financial planning to the next level. Or your team may not have the necessary bandwidth to take on higher level financial tasks, such as an audit or a business acquisition. SeatonHill offers Executive CFO services on an interim, fractional or project basis.

Contact us for a free consultation, and we will show you how our elite team of CFO Partners can provide you with the CFO you deserve.



SeatonHill provides organizations financial leadership with a strategic and operational focus by placing elite CFO talent to challenge the business and contribute to operational decisions to achieve results. With our curated talent, our financial leaders guide small and medium sized businesses through complex financial problems to mitigate risk and achieve organizational goals.

We are the fastest-growing CFO services firm in the nation, offering the power of combined thought leadership and the support of the country’s top financial talent to the benefit of all our clients. SeatonHill has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington D.C.

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