Qualities of a Top Financial Executive

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check Financial executives like Controllers, Treasurers and Chief Financial Officers are often regarded in the business world as managers of financial concerns only, but the top financial executives in many companies have more than just financial expertise. In order to be the best financial executive, you have to embody the qualities of a successful manager as well as a financial expert. Here are some of those qualities explained.

Leadership Skills

A successful financial executive has to be a business leader because financial management involves more than just the accounting department. In order to effect change in a company and get the best results, a financial executive has to share their vision with other executives and inspire key business players to help them get their vision realized. The only way this can happen is if the financial executive can be a strong leader not only in financial matters but in business matters as well.

Strategic Thinking

While solid recording practices and accounting has its place, being a great financial manager isn’t just about bookkeeping. Financial management is about finding ways to fund the company’s goals, and to do this you have to know how to develop the best strategy. Top finance executives know how to think strategically and plan their efforts to get the best results. Strategy doesn’t end with planning, though. Successful financial executives need to be able to act strategically to and get their plans in motion.

Business Processing

Financial executives don’t just need to understand how money flows through a company—they need to understand key business processes in order to be successful. An understanding of business processes allows a finance executive to find the root cause of financial loss and help design processes that will be more effective and efficient. Knowledge of business processes can help you find ways to minimize costs within the company and add value to business processes.

Managing Change

Being trained in measuring the results of change makes finance executives uniquely suited to managing change in the company. Leadership skills, a good strategy and an in-depth knowledge of business processes are all necessary for any financial executive, and these skills can also help you effect change within your company in many different ways. Leadership skills allow you to get the right people to effect change. Strategic thinking and actions help you create disciplined changes that work towards a clearly defined goal, and business processes management can help you create the most effective change for your company.


Top financial executives are increasingly finding their jobs interwoven with technology. Everything from picking financial systems, to managing financial reporting, and ecommerce transactions involves both financial and technology leadership. Although developing a detailed understanding of technology is improbable for most financial professionals, you can develop relationships with IT leadership. If you do not regularly connect with senior technology executives, be sure to develop a personal relationship with the individuals responsible for driving technology. Your role as a financial executive will increasingly involve technology deployment; it is absolutely critical that you have a firm working knowledge of your systems and strong political ties to technology leadership.

As the role of the financial executive evolves from “glorified bean counter” to a strategic management, strategy, and systems expert, it is important to have a plan for your career development. Top financial executives become the centers for their organizations to which every other function is connected and dependent upon. As you plan for your career and manage within your corporation, it is vitally important to involve others as much as possible. Learn about every disparate function of the organization; Develop relationships with non-financial executives; and continually work on your management and presentation skills.

By Marie Larsen