Farm Equipment asked Mike Hedge, CFO & Treasurer, the traits he would seek in his successor. Here’s what he told us:

  • Business Acumen. Understanding accounting and financial principles would be a given, but Hedge specifically cited the following. “They must be in tune with the operating strategy of the business, and know deeply the metrics for managing the balance sheet.”
  • Independent Yet Team Player. “They must know when to be independent in helping the team assess the risks and exposure of certain operating decisions. But, they also need to know when it’s time to be supportive of the team and say ‘I can find a way to get it done, we can get it done.’”
  • Interpersonal Skills. “As accountants we’re trained to think in black and white; we’re trained to be skeptics. But even though we’re numbers folks, we must interact effectively with people, whether it’s partners, company management and individual managers. Meet personally with the leadership group, and encourage people to call with any questions they might have.”
  • Open & Sharing. “Take a proactive approach to providing financial information and explain what it means. We don’t hide our financial statements from our team, lenders or manufacturers. That doesn’t do anyone any good.”
  • A Multi-Tasker. “You must be effective at juggling all these things and be capable of dealing with lots of things coming at you and not getting stressed out.”
  • A Score Card. When asked how to evaluate a CFO’s performance, he says, job one is providing good information from and accounting sense. “Are you preparing meaningful financial statements? Do we have budgets to gauge our performance against, are we processing transactions effectively, and most important, do we have the capability to finance all the transactions going on within the business?”