Winning the CFO Talent War

Winning the CFO Talent War

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, the search for top talent has intensified across the accounting and finance industry.

According to a recent report by Gartner, “hiring and retaining enough staff emerged as their most difficult task over the next 12 months.”

The importance of hiring and retaining top talent for executive roles cannot be overstated, and the role of the CFO has become more critical than ever before in driving business success. The person you hire for this role will be a financial navigator, strategic catalyst, and savvy forecaster, and these skills have become integral in moving businesses forward.

Why the CFO Talent War is Happening

Times have changed, and so have business structures.

In recent years, many business leaders have recognized that a silo approach to managing their companies is no longer practical or effective. Today upper-level leadership must work in concert with each other, and the CFO has become instrumental to corporate success.

Changes in the role of CFOs 

The CFO role has evolved significantly in recent years, and the CFO’s responsibilities extend far beyond traditional financial management. Their duties often include controllership, investing, and risk management, and economic forecasting.

Many businesses expect their CFO to act as a strategic business partner driving growth and innovation. As a result, the demand for CFOs with a wide range of skills and experience has increased, leading to fierce competition for highly qualified candidates.

The growing importance of financial decision-making 

With businesses facing increasing financial complexity, CFOs have become central to decision-making across all functions of an organization.

The ability to provide strategic financial guidance based on analytics is now more critical than ever, and businesses are willing to invest in top talent to ensure they have the best CFOs leading their finance teams.

Increased demand for CFOs in multiple industries 

As businesses continue to recognize the importance of financial strategy, CFOs are in demand across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology, and retail. This need has significantly increased the demand for CFO talent, resulting in a highly competitive hiring landscape.

As a result, many businesses find attracting and retaining financial officers to be one of their most challenging tasks.

Strategies to Win the Talent War

With everyone in the fray, how can you attract top talent to your business? Three strategies can make you stand out on the battlefield.

  1. Create a strong employer brand. One of the most effective ways businesses attract and retain top talent is by building a strong employer brand.

    Today’s financial leaders strive to find employers with shared values; they want to work with a respected brand, and your company culture breathes life into your brand. Your CFO will also expect substantial compensation. The median CFO salary is just above $424,000, ranging from $227,000 to more than $500,000, depending on the company’s size. To attract top CFO talent, highlight your company culture, offer competitive compensation and benefits, and provide professional growth and development opportunities.

  1. Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Fairness matters significantly to most employees. Ensuring fair hiring practices, creating a culture of inclusion, and supporting diversity in leadership positions are all essential components of a successful talent strategy.

    By prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, companies can attract a broader range of top talent, leading to a more diverse and innovative finance team.

    Rising pressure from the C-suite is working. According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 10% of all CFOs were racially diverse 3 years ago; by 2022, that number had doubled.

  1. Emphasize work-life balance. Life after the pandemic has reminded many people that there’s life outside of work. Not surprisingly, work-life balance has become increasingly essential for employees, and businesses should prioritize creating a flexible and supportive work environment.

    CFOs can expect some parts of the fiscal year to be busier than others, but they also need a break, or their work quality will suffer over time. Offer your CFO candidate a flexible schedule. Provide time off for personal needs and promote mental health and wellness. The balance between work and life is a win for you both.

Best Practices for Hiring Top CFO Talent

Now that you know the terrain, it’s time to execute your strategy. In such a highly competitive field, you can attract and hire a top CFO in two ways:

  1. Conduct a thorough hiring process. To attract top talent, businesses must conduct a comprehensive hiring process that identifies necessary CFO skills and qualifications, crafts job descriptions, and develops interview questions that accurately reflect the position. Being thorough includes conducting thorough reference checks. You may already have a hiring process, or your recruiter can guide you through each step.
  2. Leverage help from a recruiter. Recruiters can be a valuable resource for businesses looking to hire top CFO talent. Collaboration with a recruiter will give you access to talent and give you time and money. Recruiters have developed a network of hard-to-find candidates, and they can save time and money by investing attention into precisely what you need for the role. JFSPartners can help you overcome your hiring challenges.


The CFO talent war is not ending anytime soon, and the importance of winning this war cannot be overstated.

Businesses must strategize how they invest in top CFO talent to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. Creating a strong employer brand; prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion; emphasizing work-life balance; conducting a thorough hiring process, and working with a recruiter will give you an advantage in winning the CFO talent war.

For more information on how to hire in a tight labor market, please click here.

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