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Leadership

Preparing the next generation of CFOs Logo cgma

  Sarah Ovaska-Few |   Free |   Jun 2018 |   FM magazine

Succession planning is vital for business continuity in all management roles. CFO’s need to identify possible replacements for themselves both within and outside the organisation. This article looks at the steps necessary for appointing CFO’s with the right personal and technical qualities. Creating an individual programme to achieve the right mix of experience is an important ingredient.

Topics covered:
  • Management accounting: Leadership: Team building, Advanced

4 Comments/Reflections

Andrew Ritchie

Andrew Ritchie Feb 2019

A recent survey by executive recruiting and consulting firm Korn Ferry, which found that only 34% of the 700-plus global CFOs reported their companies had a succession plan in place. 

Despite this only 19% of survey respondents with a succession plan thought they had a candidate ready to step into the CFO role.

Korn Ferry's senior client partner Chuck Eldridge goes as far as to say that succession planning for executives should be mandatory.


Succession planning often focusses solely on the CEO role, not the CFO role.

"Having a great bench of talent prepared to step into any leadership gap is worth its weight in gold to the entire enterprise, not only the finance organisation," Walmart CFO Charles Holley wrote.



Exposing people to different tasks, conversations and decisions that happen at different levels of an organisation are all important elements of succession planning. Developing technical skills is only one element of what is required.

Think about all competencies that are required for succession planning not just technical skills and abilities.


In running departments, in the past, I have talked about being 'three deep' in having at least two people who can cover a role in case of leave and/or sickness.

I have probably focussed to much on procedure manuals that mean that the technical elements of a role can be completed. For example in Finance departments, any body could use the manual to complete Balance Sheet recs.


This wouldn't prepare them for meeting with the CFO or CEO to review the accounts and answer questions on the reports. In future I'd focus on other competencies and enhancing their necessary communication skills as part of succession planning.
Gemma Good

Gemma Good Sep 2018

Very Interesting on the statistics and that outside of listed companies, not many companies prepare for the unexpected.

Also very insightful that internal candidate succession is as low as 20%


Scott Little

Scott Little Sep 2018

A very thought provoking article. Interesting there appears to be a low percentage of internal candidate succession planning.

I would of thought internal candidate succession would be nearer 80% not 20%
Helen Moore

Helen Moore Sep 2018

very interesting
I believe companies should look at internal applicants more often than bringing external candidates in
. mores succession planning is necessary

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