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Eight best practice tips CFOs can’t live without

Meet Joe - Happy "You cannot predict the future, but you can create the future." -- Peter Drucker

These essential best practices for CFOs come from Cynthia Jamison (Tatum LLC), writing for the AICPA Insider in her article titled, "Planning During Uncertain Times." Here are her eight tips for savvy CFOs:

  1. Formulate assumptions.
  2. Make plans based on assumptions.
  3. Assess the competitive landscape.
  4. Look for new funding. (I say, "know your cash flow and balance sheet.")
  5. Take on people issues (morale, performance and training).
  6. Communicate early and often (up to senior management and the board and down to your team).
  7. Highlight performance metrics and liquidity.
  8. Keep the future in sight.

Overall, this is a great briefing to keep the important stuff in front of you. I liked her take on number 5, in which she says,

"Think of ways to provide employees on-the-job training and/or job enrichment at minimal out-of-pocket cost. This is not a substitute for a raise (and can backfire if it’s perceived as more work for no pay), but in the right situation it can make employees feel they have received new capabilities they’ll be able to monetize in the future."

The other thing that resonated for me is the connection of several of these to our research on the Top 5 qualities of extraordinary leaders:

  1. Sight -- the ability to see emerging patterns and shift perspective when necessary
  2. Insight -- the ability to learn faster than the rate of change in your industry
  3. Create -- the ability to think strategically and critically to gain insights that create new opportunities
  4. Communicate -- the ability to collaborate inside and outside your organization and to build and sustain social networks of people engaged in the work
  5. Inspire –- the ability to mobilize support and engage others to join you in action

I see connections to the need to "see" the competitive landscape, create opportunities (making assumptions), communicating clearly the changes in strategy and vision for the organization, and inspiring people to action.

We have turned this into a leadership development program called I2A: Insights to Action -- A Strategic Thinking System.

What are your "best practices" for these turbulent times? Are these on track?