When building a business case, we often take a very inward (or functional) approach to considering benefits. Yet to be most successful in convincing others to rally to our cause, it's important to take a couple of steps back and understand what makes those ultimately evaluating our proposals tick. Our parent firm, Azul Partners, conducted an initiative a number of years ago with our colleague Brian Sommer on CFO demographics. Even though our research is dated by a few years, we don't believe much has changed.
First, on a summary level, CFOs tend to have similar basic demographics to CIOs including age, gender, hobbies, etc. As Brian likes to put it, they enjoy golf, but rarely have the chance to play it. The majority have older children (or grown) and are married. Historically, most CFOs have come from a Big 4/8 accounting background and have an MBA and an undergraduate accounting degree. To some degree, we have observed in more recent years that the accounting degree is not a prerequisite based on work experience and education, it is still more common than not.
At the time our analysis, 85% of CFOs were male and only 9% were non-white (a very low number, especially compared to senior executives in procurement). This has most certainly has changed since our research, but CFO demographics still don't mirror the general corporate world in terms of gender/ethnicity. But this is likely to change in the future given general hiring trends and the fact that many CFOs are promoted from within, from a controller role. In many cases, we have observed where divisional controllers are essentially CFOs of the businesses they oversee the numbers within.
What are CFOs most concerned about in their job and how can this tie to building procurement-centered businesses cases? Check back tomorrow to find out.