Finance leaders have traditionally been known for their analytical skills and deep understanding of financials and numbers. However, a new breed of CFOs is emerging – the “people-centric CFO.” These individuals prioritize building relationships, understanding the needs of their team members and stakeholders, and driving sustainable business change through collaboration and empathy.
Sindy Wilson, the CFO at Kickstarter, is one such people-centric CFO. With a background in finance and accounting, Wilson brings a unique perspective to her role. She believes that the modern CFO should not only excel at financial management but also be deeply connected to how work gets done through people.
“I’ve never met a stranger. Not on a plane or in a rideshare,” Wilson says, emphasizing her commitment to getting to know her team members, leaders in the organization, creators, backers, investors, and key vendors. By building trust-based relationships and understanding the challenges and perspectives of others, Wilson aims to foster collaboration and create a positive and inclusive work environment.
The rise of the people-centric CFO reflects a broader shift in the role of finance leaders. It’s no longer enough for CFOs to focus solely on financial performance and reporting. They must also be strategic partners to CEOs, driving value creation, and supporting the company’s vision and mission.
In addition to their financial acumen, people-centric CFOs excel at transformation and strategy work. They understand the importance of implementing sustainable business changes and considering the impact on people. Wilson often asks, “How will the people be impacted in these endeavors that we’re actually going to be standing up?” This people-focused approach aligns with the McKinsey experts’ recommendation for finance leaders to promote talent development within their organizations.
As companies continue to navigate remote workforces and the changing landscape of business, the role of the people-centric CFO becomes even more critical. By prioritizing relationships, collaboration, and empathy, these finance leaders can drive meaningful change, foster a positive company culture, and ultimately contribute to the company’s long-term success.
What is a people-centric CFO?
A people-centric CFO is a finance leader who prioritizes building relationships, understanding the needs of their team members and stakeholders, and driving sustainable business change through collaboration and empathy.
Why is the role of the people-centric CFO important?
The role of the people-centric CFO is important because it aligns with the changing landscape of business, where relationships, collaboration, and empathy are becoming increasingly crucial. These finance leaders can foster a positive company culture, drive meaningful change, and contribute to the long-term success of the company.
What skills do people-centric CFOs possess?
People-centric CFOs possess not only strong financial acumen but also excellent communication and relationship-building skills. They excel at transformation and strategy work, understanding the importance of implementing sustainable business changes and considering the impact on people.
How can finance leaders promote talent development within their organizations?
Finance leaders can promote talent development within their organizations by creating mentorship programs, providing opportunities for professional growth and development, and prioritizing diversity and inclusion in hiring and promotion processes. By investing in their people, finance leaders can build an inclusive finance talent pipeline and contribute to the overall success of the organization.