Your first 100 days as CFO.

Author:King, Merrill Shepherd

Starting a new job can be exciting, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you are joining a new organization. This is especially the case for a new chief financial officer (CFO). CFOs face myriad issues at the outset, ranging from preventing budget shortfalls to ensuring that appropriate internal controls exist to protect the organization's assets.

As a new CFO, the foundation you build during your first 100 days can have a lasting impact on your entire tenure. This article describes several strategies that will help you maximize that time and set the stage for long-term success.


Spending time with a wide variety of colleagues will help you get the lay of the land as you settle into your new role. Take the first few months to meet with key contacts, including your staff, your stakeholders, and your boss.

Meet with as Many Staff Members as Possible. It's always a good idea to establish two-way communication with your staff. Doing so within the first few months of your tenure conveys to your staff members that they are important and you value their input. Ask about any barriers that might be preventing them from achieving peak performance and also about which processes are working well. Some employees may want time to ponder your questions before responding, while others may be happy to provide immediate feedback. It may be useful to develop a set of standard questions before asking each employee a few tailored questions that relate to his or her specific responsibilities.

Identify and Communicate with Key Stakeholders. A CFO must be able to effectively communicate with internal and external stakeholders. Formulate a plan to identify those key stakeholders with whom you will interact regularly (e.g., board members, government officials, division directors, union leadership, auditors, vendors, and consultants). Set aside some time for an introductory phone call or a meeting with these individuals to ask how you and your staff can better support them--they will appreciate your initiative in reaching out.

Request Feedback from Your Supervisor. Establish biweekly or monthly one-on-one meetings with your supervisor, during which you can solicit feedback on your performance. If you have not been provided with performance objectives, prepare draft objectives for consideration. Also review the objectives in the organization's strategic business plan that you will be responsible for completing. Discuss...

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