Finding the diamond in the rough: How CFOs and FDs can look beyond job titles to ascertain which team members hold the right skills for future growth

Identifying diamonds in the rough has never been so important. McKinsey’s Paper “The PE Company CFO: Essentials for success” cites the priorities CFOs and FDs need to focus on in a PE (Private Equity) environment.

If there are individuals in the existing team who can genuinely facilitate the desired change that is optimal, particularly in a PE environment where cash is monitored closely and results expected quickly.

What are the signs to look for to identify talent within finance and other business units?

In the initial period as the (newly PE appointed) CFO and FD reviews and updates processes, they have the opportunity to listen carefully to team members and identify those who get and can communicate the meaning of data. Ascertaining who fully understands the overall business objectives as opposed to their business units’ objectives can be crucial in the selection of who can undertake those crucial transformative special projects.

These people should be able to look beyond the historic processes to be able to adapt and amend them to the new (PE) working model.

How to change incentives to ensure behaviour becomes consistent with overall business objectives

Developing a clear understanding on product and services’ profitability allied with a change in incentives is crucial.

An Acuity Associate Finance Director was able to re-incentivise a sales team by changing the method of calculation for bonuses. The effect was spectacular as sales momentum immediately diverted towards the products and services with the highest margins.

Questions to be answered

“Have we identified the talent gaps in our teams?”

“Do we know who has the most useful skills, irrespective of job title?”

“Which team members can extract meaning from data and report effectively?”

“What special projects could be run to transform the business?”

‘The 5D FD’ White Paper underpins the importance of ensuring the FD or CFO has the right range of skills to undertake these crucial tasks. To learn more about ‘The 5D FD’ and how Acuity Associates uses The Acuity Measure to ensure the right skills are present in the CFO email and request a  call back.

The Acuity Measure can also be used to ascertain skill-sets in different finance roles within an organisation. Please contact to learn how Acuity Associates can report on capability at all levels in the finance team.

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