Top CFO Thought Leaders to Put on Your Radar

October 1, 2021 Lydia Adams

CFO Thought leader giving insights and tips in accounting meeting

What does it take to be a CFO thought leader? Well, after over a year of talking to the best of the best CFO thought leaders out there via our podcast, CFO Weekly -- we have a pretty good idea.

Exceptional thought leaders not only get on podcasts to give great advice, they really live their values day-in and day-out. They take care of their people, own their mistakes and steer their businesses to the top of their industries.

If you're like many of our CFO Weekly listeners, you're a subscriber so that you can hear from those who have made these values, ideas and strategies work for themselves and their companies. (And if you aren't a subscriber, it's easy to click that button on Apple, Spotify or any podcast player.)

The Top CFO Thought Leaders of 'CFO Weekly'

So, while you’re working your way through our treasure trove of podcast goodness, we thought we'd list some of the top CFO thought leaders to put on your radar. We're sharing the Top 50, in fact, with links to their LinkedIn profiles to give them a follow, and a quick bit of advice they shared when they joined our host Megan Weis on the other end of the mic.

Some of the voices you’ve heard, during each episode of CFO Weekly, happen to be the most sought-after in the finance world. Add their wisdom to your LinkedIn feed and drive even more value for those in your working environments.

Thought Leaders Thriving in Good Times & Bad

Controls are more important in good times than bad. Chris knows this better than anyone else.

You either win or you learn, right? That’s what Liz did during 2020 and she’s gracious enough to share her lessons with all of us.

What would a finance career be without a few struggles? Macy’s a pro at overcoming hurdle after hurdle and achieving her goals. We could all learn a thing or two about perseverance from her.

When you need to quickly implement something, you need a plan before ‘going back to normal’. Drew knows all the boxes that need to be checked before resuming business as usual. You’ll want access to what he has to say.

“The coronavirus turned every forecasting model upside down. No one is going to be creating a perfect forecast in this environment.” — Drew Niehaus

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t Ali’s first effort at working remotely. She’s developed 10 rules for success over her 12-plus years in the game. Learn all of her habits for making it happen.

Problem-solving is a critical skill that can always be improved upon. As one of our top CFO thought leaders, Adam is a master at it, especially looking beyond symptoms and solving the root cause of issues.

“You can’t be a problem-solver by always being at the 50,000-foot view.” — Adam Porter

 

Thought Leaders in Cost Containment

Matt will shake up the way you look at outsourcing.

“Our clients see 50-70% or more in cost savings by outsourcing to us at Personiv.” — Matt Wood

Cost-cutting makes even the most seasoned experts nervous. Ken’s advice helps take the edge off.

There’s budgeting, and then there’s SaaS budgeting. Clint is an ace with both.

“I have a pretty strong opinion that a good budget does not wait until budget season to do all the key activities.” Clint Jackson
  • Paulo Cheung - Executive Vice President and Country Site Head - Philippines at Personiv

Should you or shouldn’t you consider the Philippines when outsourcing? Paulo has succeeded at it, so you may want to find out more about how.

Not many people imagine that there’s a no-cost way out for businesses hit hardest by something like the pandemic. Adanma proves otherwise, offering expert-level insights into zero-based budgeting.

“How is it that we don’t miss these certain areas where we were spending money before? Perhaps we never needed them in the first place.” — Adanma Akujieze

 

cfo and finance team through growth stages

CFO Thought Leaders Talk Company Growth

It’s not always easy to lead a business through hyper-growth. All top CFO thought leaders know about this, and Victor’s experience and tips will help you navigate the journey.

M&As have a way of introducing both, reasons to celebrate and reasons to be nervous. In such situations, there’s a fear of being made redundant as finance professionals. This is precisely why Kristen, one of our top CFO thought leaders, spends time educating her audience about the viable option of appointing Interim CFOs.

Steven has some of the most practical advice for both buyers and sellers in M&A scenarios. You’ll want to consider all angles, and this is where you’ll find them.

Glen is a great person to follow if you enjoy learning about the finance industry and accounting profession from a zoomed out view. It’s mind-blowing to see how far the industry has come, and to think of where it’s heading!

Raising capital is enough of a challenge, but trying to do so without fitting into just one vertical or having a boxed-in business model? That’s a whole new level of fundraising, which Olga is only too happy to discuss with her audience.

Human Capital & Leadership as CFO

CFO in meeting with executive vice president and top CFO thought leaders

Tony opens our eyes to iconoclasm, where challenging the status quo, designing improvements and executing toward them all blend together in a fascinating approach to life.

Steve’s experience from the talent acquisition space comes in handy when you’re wondering how to grow your team effectively.

A good talent acquisition firm will always have a pre-existing community of talent built up, to specifically serve their clients needs.” Steve Casey

As if office life didn’t present enough employee engagement challenges, the pandemic had to come along and rock the boat. Mike’s tips for keeping your workforce engaged will help you keep your company culture alive and your team on top of their game.

One of the biggest surprises of remote work was finding out that many of our processes and procedures needed upgrading.” — Mike Gilmartin

Larry is living proof that the finance world is about so much more than the numbers. Emotional quotient counts. Larry shows us how and why.

Finance is a highly regulated profession but Sean shows us how to maintain control over our own destiny, despite this.

“Once you've accomplished a task, figured out how to do it efficiently, now train your replacement.” — Sean Rizer

Roy knows what it takes to be an exceptional leader.

Where do you go scouting for new accounting talent? Cliff, one of our top CFO thought leaders, may have a few more spots for you to find your next star player.

Brent has a story or two about the importance and benefits of rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in at ground level.

Leading Through Change & The CFO Role

CFO transforming business

Change is constantly happening in and around your business. Why not take advantage of Magdalena’s experience in strategic investment and change management, as you face the inevitable?

“If you can’t justify the change to yourself, how will you justify it to the people doing the work?” - Magdalena Cleveland

Coulson paints a clear picture of what life is like as a Controller. His content is especially useful for those of you exploring career opportunities along this path.

Peter candidly shares the trials and tribulations of his journey to the C-Suite, and how to deal with mammoth-sized changes in business performance, both good and bad.

What’s even expected of CFOs today? Mike’s been answering this question, even as the answer regularly changes.

“I think CFOs are now more responsible in delivering the digital value story, which ensures that the company's technological investments line up with the goal of what the company is trying to accomplish.” Mike dePaschalis

Gene has sound advice on transferable soft skills and how to apply them at the C-Suite level.

Your age doesn’t limit your ability to occupy space at the C-Suite level. Follow Dustin for an inside look at the fast-track to the top.

Accounting, Operations & Automation - Top CFO Thought Leaders

vice president and controller analyzing financial metrics

Finance and Operations are aligning more closely every year. Will they ever converge? Where’s the overlap? Charles is on top of every move between these two business functions and, if you follow him, you could be too.

Follow John for updates from the heart of AI’s contribution to the finance profession.

Are you isolating your finance team from the rest of your business? Follow David to find out how to integrate finance with other functions, so everybody in the business can benefit.

Charles is the payroll expert we all wish we had on call, especially in sticky situations.

  • Charley Devany - Fractional CFO and Tax Consultant at Charles E. Devany Financial Leadership

Charley is a brilliant source of information and guidance on everything related to Fractional CFO structures and operations.

The fundamentals: accounting vs bookkeeping. This is one of Andrew’s areas of expertise. A wise choice if you’re looking for worthy people to follow when exploring career paths.

CFO Thought Leaders Creating Value & Making A Difference

  • Arno Wakfer - General Manager, Coach and Trainer at Educatio

Value creation is blurring the lines more than ever before in business operations. For the finance professional, there are unwritten and unspoken expectations to be up to speed with all kinds of technology, which is where Arno comes in.

Continuous learning is investing in yourself for the future.” — Arno Wakfer

Finance professionals can no longer ignore the need and the call for businesses to make a social impact. Your best bet to getting it right it to start by following Julian.

How many people do you know, capable of switching a business to a fully remote operation within 24 hours? Jill is one such miracle-worker.

Storytelling and finance aren’t combined enough in the world we live in, so Liz provides the recipe details.

“When you're able to weave the storytelling into the numbers, you make it easy for people to connect. And then the numbers actually have meaning and drive value to help companies move forward.” — Liz Barhydt

Robert is an ace at lifelong learning in all its forms.

Find yourself in a data-driven environment? Ryan’s been there and he knows what it takes to thrive.

"The numbers are not the only way to gauge the success of things, but they need to be a part of the story no matter what." — Ryan Passe

 

CEO & president in meeting with top CFO thought leaders

Thought Leadership Across Company Size, Type & Industry

You hear the pros and cons about working at corporations and small businesses, but you don’t often hear about the difficulty of switching between the two. Jeff’s got you covered if you’re finding it tough to adjust to the scale of your new working environment and team.

“It's clear to me that the biggest career transition challenge is moving from a big company to a small company, or from a public accounting training program into a position at a commercial for profit business.” — Jeff Lasher

Is it really any different being a CFO in a private-equity backed company? Kerem’s worth following ifyou’re seeking the answer to this question.

How do you transform your business from reseller to manufacturer? Rick has run that gauntlet with his team and emerged victorious, making him worth the follow.

Like with moving between corporates and small businesses, it can be challenging to move between non-profit and for-profit business organizations. James helps you transition by sharing details about human-centered design, which applies to all working environments.

“I do wish I had acquired the nonprofit experience before moving to the for profit world, because the nonprofit world is focused on impact. On an end goal.” — James Schleck

The expat lifestyle makes so much more sense when you hear someone like John talk about it.

Ed is one the foremost specialists in the non-profit sector. He drives home the reality for many people that non-profit employees still have bills to pay, and how they go about achieving this from his point of view.

“Follow your heart, find out what you love and what you love to do, and find a way to make your way in the professional world based on that.” — Ed Goble

Deloitte rarely needs an introduction. What Steve and his team are working on in the US CFO Program, though, is something out-of-this-world. You should follow him to keep up.

Katherine shares property accounting insights for you to take advantage of.

“If you focus on the needs of your local community, and the tenant mix, and the needs of the tenant in your shopping center, the ROI pretty much takes care of itself.” — Katherine Jackson

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Make sure to follow CFO Weekly for weekly insights, tips, and stories on all things finance from the top CFO thought leaders from a variety of industries. We are back this fall with a full lineup of leaders. Don't forget to subscribe!

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