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Sponsored: The CFO Track Demands More Skills Than Ever

Have you considered changing your career track or expanding your skills profile? Please enjoy this sponsored content from Georgetown University about their Masters of Finance program.

If you’re an ambitious accounting professional, you might have the title of CFO on your career bucket list. Chief financial officers are quickly becoming the most indispensable and sought after talent for any organization.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act became law in 2002. In the years that followed, companies needed CFOs with strong backgrounds in accounting and internal controls to deal with the new compliance challenges. Slowly but surely, as companies began to assimilate, CFOs were expected to be more strategic, looking for business opportunities and ways to finance them.

This means businesses today want CFOs with more diverse backgrounds. People who understand risk, corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions are the most viable candidates and snatching up some of the most prestigious roles in the world.

These days, many accounting professionals are working toward a chief accounting officer-like role. One that focuses on the understanding the financial reporting, tax and compliance needs related to those areas. CFOs are not deeply involved with these matters like they once were.

The fluid nature of the CFO role is likely to continue, which means other paths could be more sensible or attainable. But what if you’re an accounting professional and CFO is still a career milestone for you? How can you give yourself the best chance to achieve that goal?

The short answer is: you need the skills. The tricky part is how you get them. You can either learn them on the job or in the classroom. Both paths have their advantages and disadvantages, but there’s no doubt that the skills are not optional.

This doesn’t discount the importance or utility of an accounting background. Financial reporting, controls, disclosures and technical issues that come are all fair game when it comes to expectations for a CFO’s scope of knowledge. But these days those are just table stakes. A broader more robust background in finance and relevant work experience will put you light years ahead of your competition for CFO roles.

If you think a CFO role is on your horizon and want to know more about Georgetown’s Master in Finance on-campus and online program, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.