New CFO Checklist: Your First 90 Days as a CFO

In CFO, Process Improvement by Sophie Galtress

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Whether you have been newly hired as a CFO, or you have been promoted at your current place of work, you may feel a little bit overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be completed, and the challenges you may take on during the transition process. And you are left wondering where on earth you should begin.

As a new CFO, you will be expected to learn your role as quickly as possible. You will be working with a new team, a new boss, and bringing new ideas to the table. However, there is only so much you can do in this short timeframe.

You’ve either been promoted, or you have been hired because a company has just hit a specific milestone, and now it is time for you to get involved. You could be involved in payroll, legal, HR and many other operations.

Other responsibilities can include:

  • Cash or spend management
  • Financial planning
  • Reporting
  • Managing your own team
  • and so much more.

So, let us go through what you should carry out within your first 90 days as a new CFO.

Building Relationships and Assessing your New Team

One of the biggest and most important things you need to do is to build relationships. You should meet your team as soon as possible because they are going to play a critical part in your chance of success in the coming months.

Hopefully, you would have already had a chance to speak with your new boss before you started your role. Giving your peers this valuable time gives you the chance to understand their concerns, and find out what they are looking to get from finance in the future.

Assessing your existing systems

We are firm believers that having great technology is as equally as important as building relationships. If your company system is still running on a system from ten, fifteen years ago, it is unlikely that you are building a competitive advantage.

As a new CFO, it is your job (if you are looking) to implement a new system, that you choose a software that will grow with you, and your company.

Maintaining manual processes and keeping up with those spreadsheets must be really stressful, and time-consuming, so wouldn’t you like to free up more time?

Assessing processes

Once you have had a month or two to properly settle into your new role as the CFO of the company, you should have a clear view of the problems that your customers are facing.

You need to understand the bottlenecks and start forming a battle plan to get rid of those bottlenecks.

Accuracy and Speed

As a CFO, you need to be able to see the wider picture and bring a faster way of working for yourself and your peers.

Finance teams face two competing issues. The need for speed, and the need for accuracy.

This is one of the more difficult balancing acts that new CFOs are likely to encounter. The pressure will come from external sources and your own internal view of how finance should operate. At the end of the day, the decision has to be yours, but there are some key themes you need to consider.

Define Responsibilities

One of the most important things for your peers is that they need to understand fully who is responsible for what, and where the reporting lines lie.

Have you ever heard of “3 pillars of successful financial transformation projects”?

Let us explain.

Over the years, we have worked with many companies on their finance transformation projects. This has led us to find that for every project to be successful, it needs three things.

  • Pillar One – People
  • Pillar Two – Process
  • Pillar Three – Technology

It all starts with your people. You need to make sure that you have prepared the ground with your staff, and show them how implementing new technology, will free them from boring and repetitive work. This will allow your employees to be more creative and get involved in not only the project but shows that you trust them to deliver a high-quality result.

When looking at the process, it’s important to look at the big picture. What is it you and your company want to achieve, and why? Once you have chosen one thing in particular, you need to understand the root cause of the issue which you are trying to solve.

The final pillar, technology. We believe that clients will get the best outcome from having a technology refresh. Obviously, you still need to put the people and process first, but technology is just as important.

So, having great technology is important, and again, if you’re sitting on an older system from fifteen years ago, you’re so far behind the competition.

The role of a CFO is an extremely challenging but rewarding one. There will be many challenges you face along the way, but it is important that if the Board didn’t think you’d be able to overcome these challenges, you wouldn’t have been appointed in the first place!

If you want to read more about what else you can expect from your first 90 days as a CFO, check out our ultimate blueprint here, or click the banner down below!