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What I learnt from CFOs

by Greg O'Shea

We recently ran our second CFO Incubator program which was a great success.  Personally, I would like to thank the program participants and our mentors for their commitment.

Having the opportunity to interview five leading CFOs was a pleasure and it is amazing what take home value you can get. One of the last questions we asked each mentor was “what three pieces of wisdom they would pass on to any aspiring CFO?” – I think the results are worth sharing.


Funnily enough, they all had very similar advice. The recurrent tips being:-


  • There is no substitute for hard work. You need to demonstrate that you can do more than just your job. Put your hand up for challenges. Solve a problem no one has been able to.

  • Know your values. You have to be true to yourself, and if the values of the business/management team are not aligned with yours, speak up or move on.

  • Focus on value-add and forget the fluff. Don’t waste time on things that are not important. Prioritise the things that will add value to the business.

  • Embrace change and re-invent yourself.

There were a couple of other concepts that resonated through all the presentations. One of these was around balance, and making sure you made time for yourself to relax and stay fit for life and work. All our mentors were early risers and either pounding the pavement or at the gym at sparrows.


For me, the biggest take home from all the presentations was that to be the best at anything you have to make sacrifices. You need to assess what is important in your life and set your career goals accordingly. Being a CFO or in any leadership role will require you to go beyond just the job.


For more information on our program please visit The CFO Incubator webpage


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