Deloitte: Personal traits, networking and skills outweigh gender in path to CFO
Executives hoping to become chief financial officer, female as well as male, can learn how personal traits, networking and skills trump gender, according to a new Deloitte study titled, Journey to CFO: Perspectives of Women Leaders.

Fuente:    Fecha:   29.09.2009

Deloitte: Personal traits, networking and skills outweigh gender in path to CFO

"There is no single path to becoming a CFO at a leading company, but an interplay of key personal traits, opportunities, networking and skills are vital to create a total package essential to becoming a top level CFO," said Ajit Kambil, author of the study and global research director of Deloitte's US CFO Program. "Most studies today only tell finance and other professionals what courses to focus on to try to move up to the CFO's office. Our report concludes that certain traits are particularly important to possess for career growth and advancement."

Kambil noted in the study that while inequities from gender differences remain in some workplaces, most female CFOs interviewed for the study did not see their own development as differentiated in terms of gender. The study also suggested that some industries and regions seemed to be more open to women in senior roles highlighting high technology companies and businesses on the west coast, respectively.

"It is notable that most of the survey respondents reported few gender inequities on the way to advancement," said Barbara Adachi, leader of Deloitte's Initiative for the Retention and Advancement of Women. "It speaks very well to the future for women seeking positions as CFOs. These women also spoke to the importance of having sponsors early in their careers, such as senior executives who took interest in their development, to shepherd their careers and help them advance to the next level."

The study also recommended that aspiring professionals take four key career steps along their path to the top finance office:

-- Start your career well by joining a large, branded firm.
-- Step up to the plate and seek tasks that others may shy from.
-- Proactively own your career by networking.
-- Always envision what role you want to achieve.

Among key personal traits and values of leading CFOs identified in the study were curiosity, courage, self assurance and ethical responsibility. Top skills included communication and sales, listening, negotiation, operations, conflict resolution, and good strategic judgment and prioritization for decisive choices.

The Deloitte study also tapped current CFOs to identify what they can do to help the next generation of finance professionals. Findings included:

-- Continue to embody the aforementioned traits and values in the report and serve as a role model.
-- Facilitate networking and training to help bolster professional networks.
-- Enable experiential learning -- the key things that helped females interviewed for the study were the experiences they accumulated every day as they faced different challenges.
-- Implement rotation programs to broaden the finance staff and invite younger professionals into key management.