What are you overlooking as a CFO? It's probably not what you think. On this episode of the CFO Weekly podcast, Robert Bendetti, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Life Cycle Engineering, discusses the three best practices most CFOs overlook:
Networking. Lifelong Learning. Giving Back. Together with Robert, we looked at each area in detail.
Tips to Up Your Networking Game
Tip #1 Get Out of the Office
If you're invited to lunch, a conference, a civic organization, or coffee, just go! Quit using "I'm busy" as an excuse. Go have lunch.
Getting out of the office can mean walking around the plant or visiting customers, or it can mean attending associations, conferences, civic organizations or lunch. CFOs get invited to a lot of stuff, but we're busy and we've got a lot of voicemails and emails and ...we're so important, right? We can never leave.
"But I have a call to action to my fellow bean counters," Bendetti said, "we do need to leave."
Tip #2 Write
Whether you publish on LinkedIn or submit an article to a professional journal, put yourself out there as an expert.
For people who are shy or who feel uncomfortable speaking in public, writing can be a great way to meet key new people. You can quickly expand your network with a few meaty posts on LinkedIn. Or you can publish in trade journals or professional association newsletters, linking your name with industry leaders.
Tip #3 Speak
Join a panel discussion, or teach financial management with a nonprofit.
Once you've built confidence with writing, start speaking. It's a great networking tool whether you're a part of a panel discussion — those are pretty easy — or you're speaking on a topic you're very familiar with at a C.P.E. event. You've got to go anyway, right? So you might as well speak.
“It's really important for senior financial executives to get out of their office. That can mean walking around the plant or visiting customers, or it could just mean attending associations, conferences, civic organizations, or just lunch,” Bendetti said.
Lifelong Learning: Your Degree Just Isn't Enough Anymore
Tip #1 Get A Professional Certification Such As A CPA
So much is changing so fast that any senior-level financial executive needs to pursue a CPA or CMA. Once you have that basic professional certification, you should also consider a change management certification. That's another great tool to have in your tool belt as a senior financial executive because a lot has changed and a lot more will change.
Tip #2 Volunteer to Teach
Teachers learn more than their learners learn.
"I've learned the most when I was forced to teach something," Bendetti said "And so by volunteering to teach at work or at a C.P.E. event or in your community, I think you gain a lot because you have to be so prepared to teach others."
How Senior Financial Executives Are Stepping Up to Give Back
Tip #1 Realize You Have the Skills to Help
A lot of people are hurting financially. People need the skills of finance pros now more than ever.
Forbes recently came out with an analysis and said that 60 percent of Americans have less than a thousand dollars. And there's a lot of emergencies that pop up even pre-pandemic that cost more than a thousand.
Another interesting fact: 71 percent of people think they're financially literate. But when quizzed, only a third of them pass a basic financial management assessment. As senior financial executives, we have a lot of business and financial acumen. Sharing that knowledge can really help.
Tip #2 Giving Back Helps You Professionally
What are some of the benefits of being charitable from a professional perspective?
"I found that it's improved my writing and my public speaking," Bendetti said. "The nonprofits and the civic organizations, community organizations, they'll let anybody volunteer and speak about anything."
So if you've never done it before and are hoping for somebody to give you the chance to write about something or speak about something, a nonprofit certainly will.
Tip #3 You'll Be Seen As An Expert
Giving back is being a visible expert. You're out there in the community being visible. Besides doing the right thing, it's a great networking opportunity.
This post is based on a CFO Weekly podcast with Robert Bendetti. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to our show on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast player!