Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What To Ask A Cfo In An Interview

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Cfo Interview Questionscowen Partners Cfo Search Firm

CFO Interview Questions and Answers! (How to PASS a Chief Financial Officer Interview!)

Cowen Partners is a national executive search firm specializing in CFO searches. We have put together 100+ of the best CFO interview questions so that you can be confident in your hiring decision.

  • Do they understand the job opportunity and the company?
  • Are they asking intelligent questions about the job and the job opportunity?
  • What appeals to them about this particular opportunity and what do they bring to table?
  • What value will they immediately add to the company? How will their experience benefit this company?
  • What does their compensation history look like and does this opportunity make sense from a financial perspective? If not, why would they take a pay cut?
  • Does the commute work for them and have they had a similar commute for many years? Check to see how long they lasted the last time their commute was this long.
  • What concerns do they have about moving forward in the process and is there anything that would keep them from being interested in the opportunity at this point? Do they have questions for you and/or anything else they would like to share with you?
  • Practice Your Small Talk

    As you arrive to the interview, the CEO may speak with you before the interview begins. You may participate in small talk in their office, or they may walk with you to the break room for coffee. The CEO may do this to learn more about you outside of the role and to grasp how easily you can take part in a casual conversation. One of the CEOs responsibilities is to ensure the company culture is collaborative and motivating. They will want to know if your personality is a good fit for their overall culture.

    Practice small talk with yourself or a friend. You can also research topics to discuss with the CEO. Here are some common small talk topics.

    • Asking how their day or week has been
    • Discussing your hobbies

    Cfo Interview Questions :

    1. Described Cash System of Accounting?Cash System of Accounting: This system records only cash receipts and payments. This system assumes that there are no credit transactions. In this system of accounting, expenses are considered only when they are paid and incomes are considered when they are actually received. This system is used by the organizations which are established for non profit purpose. But this system is considered to be defective in nature as it does not show the actual profits earned and the current state of affairs of the organization.

    2. Described about Capital Expenditure?Capital Expenditure is an amount incurred for acquiring the long term assets such as land, building, equipments which are continually used for the purpose of earning revenue. These are not meant for sale. These costs are recorded in accounts namely Plant, Property, Equipment. Benefits from such expenditure are spread over several accounting years.

    E.g. Interest on capital paid, Expenditure on purchase or installation of an asset, brokerage and commission paid.

  • Cost Principle
  • Timing Principle
  • 6. Please explain the difference between share capital & reserves and surpluses?Share Capital is that portion of a companys equity that has been obtained by issuing share to a shareholder. The amount of share capital increases as new shares are sold to public in exchange for cash.

    7. What are Non recurring Duties?

    8. What are Recurring Duties?Deciding the financial needs> Corporate Taxation

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    Ask Questions That Determine Cultural Fit

    Someone who fits in with the companys environment will likely share the companys goals. Whether or not a candidate fits into a companys culture can determine how successful they are in the position. Its important to analyze your companys culture and ask questions about it while interviewing a CFO or any executive.

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    Heres what Mahtani is looking for when he interviews finance candidates:

    1. Ability to express yourself: I like to employ commercially driven accountants who can articulate the numbers and the proposition, Mahtani said. Someone who simply hands over a spreadsheet will not add value to the business. The successful candidate will need analytical skills and a persuasive manner to convey their opinion or recommendation based on the data they have gathered.

    2. Engagement: Conveying interest in the opportunity is essential because a pay cheque only works as a motivator in the short term. If the person is engaged from day one, they are more likely to be successful both within the organisation and in their career more broadly, Mahtani said. Your level of interest in the role, the company, and its activities and the research you have done will be apparent in the answers you give in the interview.

    3. Innovation: The most important thing that I look for in the interview process is what has the candidate achieved? Mahtani said. What have they been involved in, and can they translate the significance of that? If a candidate can demonstrate that they are innovative and have sought ways to put improvements in place, they mark themselves out as someone who will add value to the business.

    Samantha White is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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    Cfo Interview Questions: Communicationskills

  • Do they communicate extremely well?
  • Are they high energy?
  • Do they speak loud and clearly or are they timid and reserved?
  • Are they more introverted or extroverted?
  • Do they make you pull questions out of them or do they explain their ideas fully, take cues from you, listen at the right time and speak at the right time?
  • Do they speak English fluently, smoothly and eloquently?
  • Is it easy to understand what they are saying, and do they make sense when they are talking to you without you having to put effort into understanding them?
  • Do they talk too much, or are they overbearing?
  • Do they say things that are politically incorrect?
  • Do they speak abrasively or harshly?
  • Do they speak negatively about a former employer or co-worker?
  • Are they likeable and were you able to develop good rapport with them?
  • Questions To Ask A Cfo In An Interview

    As I am sure you know, most companies engage a team of people in the hiring process. The executive search firm or head of HR will develop a set of questions designed to weed out candidates who are unlikely to succeed. This might be due to legalities, a lack of certain skills, an unwillingness to relocate or travel, or even their salary requirements. We dont plan to cover such questions here.

    As candidates move on to speak to others in the organization the questions should be quite different. They should be broad, open-ended questions designed to help you understand if this person would be a good fit. For instance, the CEO will aim to determine if this person would be a strong partner and advisor in their quest to lead the company. The Controller, on the other hand, will be more interested in the candidates management style and may dig deep into any technical requirements

    To that end, below are some CFO interview questions to consider. For your convenience, you can also download these questions as a Word document.

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    What Do You Expect Someone In This Position To Accomplish In The First 60

    University of Richmond Career Advisor Anna Young says, Great candidates hit the ground running, find out how you will be expected to jump in and start contributing to the organization from day one. And in case youre wondering, its fine to modify the question for an internship and ask about expectations for the first few weeks.

    Example: What do you expect someone in the HR business partner role to accomplish in the first 60-90 days?

    Who Is The Ceo

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    The CEO works on the executive team and often leads the company. They may manage the main operations and make major financial decisions. They typically oversee big-picture items and collaborate with the board of directors to keep the company growing. CEOs are sometimes involved in smaller company or departmental decisions. With larger companies, they can mainly focus on strategic concepts and will apply a more hands-off leadership strategy.

    Depending on the companys size and your role, the amount of interaction you may have with the CEO throughout your workday may vary.

    Related:12 Qualities of a CEO)**

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    As Our Financial Officer There May Be Times When Youll Have To Decide If An Investment Is Profitable For The Company What Is Your Process For Determining This Profitability

    You trust your chief financial officer to be able to look at potential investments and use their professional acumen to decide if those investments are worth the possible risk. It is the CFO or chief financial officers job to get the best deals possible for your company. Gathering insight into how a particular job candidate goes through this process will give you a glimpse into their prior training.

    What to look for in an answer:

    • An example of an investment your company might make
    • Steps the CFO would take to analyze it
    • Analysis implementation technique


    Ive studied the services you offer, and I could see X as a potential investment. I would look at your current trends to gauge viability.

    If You Were In My Shoes What Would You Want To Know About This Role And The Organization

    To interviewers, questions posed by candidates are just as indicative of their grasp of the role and vision for it as anything a search committee will ask. FaithSearch President Ed Fry advises, Sometimes the best way to evaluate a candidate is not by the answers they give but by the questions they ask. It is critical, then, that candidates demonstrate that they are attuned to the unique requirements of the role they seek by asking astute, thoughtful questions.

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    Key Interview Questions To Ask For Operations And Finance Roles

    By: VanderbloemenMarch 2, 2020

    If youve been doing your taxes for many years, then you know first-hand that they become more complicated the more assets you have. Im sure wed all welcome more of that kind of complication in our lives – or maybe thats just me! But eventually, you reach a point where you cant file your taxes on your own and you have to seek professional help.

    Maybe your church or ministry is at a similar place your finances or daily operations have become too complicated praise God! for you to operate without a professional to oversee them, and its time to hire a new role on your team a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, an Executive Pastor, etc.

    If youre not familiar with finances, accounting, systems, or operations and dont have someone on your staff or in your church who can review resumes and skillfully interview candidates, here are a few key questions that you should ask potential CFO or COOs for your ministry.

    If We Are Ever In Challenging Times Where Can We Tighten Our Belts

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    Layoffs, cut backs and other similar reactions to a reduction in sales and cash flow can be difficult and fraught with tension. You may never know when it will happen, but its good to be prepared.

    What to listen for in an answer: Ideally, you would want your CFO to convey that they have been thinking about the business. Its reassuring to know that they have an inventory of ways to preserve cash if the need arises. They dont necessarily need to broadcast these tools until theyre needed, but its good to have a pulse on the business.

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    Can You Handle Conflict In Your Group

    Interviewers want to know about candidates conflict management skills, especially in group works.

    Tip #1: State what you would do if group conflict happens

    Tip #2: Be straight to the point and avoid mulling your answers

    Sample Answer:

    Once, two of my team members were involved in a misunderstanding. The tension emitted by the two was unbearable for other members so I felt obliged to resolve the conflict. I searched for the root of the conflict and talked to both sides. I managed to mediate both of them to overcome their differences and all of us managed to finish the task well.

    Questions To Ask When Hiring Your Next Cfo

    With these 150 questions for todays Leadership Accounting, Finance, Human Resources , Marketing, Operations, Sales, Strategy,Technology whether you are looking to hire or be hired, youll be wellprepared for a successful recruiting initiative.

    The Point: Hiring senior leadership in an organizationis an investment, and an expensive one at that! With long recruiting cycles,numerous candidate applications to sift through, and even automated applicanttracking systems there still seems to be limited qualified applicants. Withthis in mind, the quality of interview questions is critical to ensuringreliable, valid, and repeatable interview results. It is also important toensure all interviewers follow a consistent process therein and use interviewguides in the same manner for each interview. Establishing interview committeesto allow for individual interviewers candidate assessments to be evaluatedfairly and accurately in order to come to agreement on candidate potential and advancement.

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    Share With Us Your Previous Experience Related To The Cfo Position

    Candidates are expected to share their experience in working as CFO or any related tasks.

    Tip #1: State a few duties you have done

    Tip #2: Mention how you felt and the impact they have done

    Sample Answer:

    I have experience in allocating funds in my previous workplace. By looking at the data obtained from the companys financial performance, I was able to come up with a plan to raise the funds properly. It was my first job as a CFO and I learned to manage various roles including budgeting, risk management, accounting, analysis, and so forth.

    What Metrics You Might Monitor On A Regular Basis

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    This question requires candidates to be well aware of measurements and metrics to be monitored.

    Tip #1: Name several metrics that ought to be monitored

    Tip #2: Provide examples of monitoring measurements and metrics that you know

    Sample Answer:

    Some of the metrics that I commonly paid attention to are net profits and contribution margins. Besides those, I am particular about the annual revenue kept in the bank. Having a consistent sufficient amount of money saved will prevent issues from worsening and disrupt the companys financial status.

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    Questions Every Executive Candidate Should Ask In An Interview

    When interviewing, one of the biggest missed opportunities for executive-level candidates may be failing to come up with well-crafted questions that they are prepared to ask when the opportunity presents itself.

    Executive Tip: Many leaders recommend that candidates write their questions down ahead of time and bring a physical list to the meeting. Seeing the candidates preparation visually lets interviewers know that the candidate is seriously considering the role.

    In almost every interview we help facilitate, there is an opportunity at the end of the exploration of the candidates skills and abilities to turn the focus to questions they may want to ask of the Search Committee or interview team.

    While it may seem like over-playing your hand for the job-seeker to ask questions and some interviewees fear pestering interviewers or taking up valuable time not asking questions may communicate lack of preparedness or lack of depth on the part of the candidate.

    Executive Tip: Address potential time constraints up front by saying, Will I have time to ask a few questions of my own at the end of our conversation? This direct approach eliminates potential awkwardness and helps ensure there will be time for candidate questions before the interview concludes.

    Candidates unwilling to ask key questions may miss out on a vital opportunity to showcase their interest in the role as well as any research they have done ahead of time.

    What Do You Hope To Accomplish Within The Next Year

    One of the most important things CEOs want to know about a candidate is what youre going to accomplish once hired for the position.

    What to include in your answer:

    Tell the employer about your vision as an employee for their company. The interviewer already knows youre qualified for the position now you need to explain how youll help their company reach the next level.

    Talk about a combination of your skills and strengths that will bring you success as an employee. You should also reference previous accomplishment stories that would support your vision for this job.

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    Prepare Your Own Questions For The Interviewer

    Interviewers always ask if you have any questions, and no matter what, you should have one or two ready or he or she may conclude that youre not that interested

    For example, some good all-purpose question are, If you could design the ideal candidate for this position from the ground up, what would he or she be like? or What do you think is the best thing about working here?.

    What Is Our Relationship With Our Accounting Firm

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    When businesses start, they focus on making and selling a product or service. They may not be able to afford full-time, in-house financial staff to handle processing transactions and preparing financial statements, so they outsource these activities.

    As the business grows it may hire financial staff, but they may also keep the existing relationship with the accounting firm. When asking this question, youre wanting to get an update on where you stand.

    What to listen for in an answer: If the company is performing many accounting and financial functions in-house, these should no longer be performed by the accounting firm and billings should be reduced accordingly.

    Another possibility? When businesses are just getting started, they usually have a difficult time getting a full-service accounting firm, instead opting to work with a smaller firm. So when the business grows, it may have outgrown the original firm. If thats the case for your business, now could be a good time to look for a new firm. This concept of outgrowing ones initial professional service provider can also apply to your law firm, insurance agent or banker.

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