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Curiosity: A CFO’s Best Friend

Curiosity is the one common denominator that allowed us to create fire thousands of years ago and today, it’s the name of a rover on Mars that’s studying the red planet. 

Back here on Earth, curiosity is what keeps business improving, especially if you’re a CFO. In that case, you’re a cross-functional business partner in the true sense of the word. You don’t just manage a company’s financial landscape and cash flow, you’re the glue that binds its different parts into a cohesive whole.

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Finance and Curiosity: A Match Made in Heaven

To hold a company together, you’ll form trusting relationships that inspire lasting strategies. Is that possible without curiosity? Certainly not. Suppose you want to understand what goes on in the sales department. The first thing you’ll do is gather some first-hand experience. 

You’ll learn what’s important to the customer, how the staff should deal with them, and a million other details that you’d not have known otherwise. You’ll identify inefficiencies and where they exist and then come up with ways to remove them.

Now, suppose you’re the CFO again and you’ve to allocate a budget for the sales team. After having that first-hand experience, you’ll notice you’re much better equipped now to allocate a budget because you know exactly how many resources the department needs.

This is exactly how curiosity works. When you’re curious about something, you’ll step into that field and learn. This learning process changes everything. It expands your outlook and improves your chances to make the right decisions.

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Navigating in a World Full of Uncertainty

Thirty years ago, a CFO maintained a company’s books, ensured statutory compliance, and handled cash management. Today, a CFO isn’t a supporting character anymore but a protagonist that drives a company in a specific direction.

After Covid-19 took the world by storm, millions of well-established businesses went bankrupt. Meanwhile, some companies exponentially grew because they were adaptable and thus more resilient. Do you think that was happenstance? Again, certainly not.

If you’re a CFO and your financial models forecast a bleak financial future for your company due to the pandemic, you’ll immediately downsize the office, invest in IT solutions, and make remote work possible. That’s because you don’t want to wait for disaster to strike and limit cash outflows beforehand.

Now, that’s where curiosity comes. You’re asking questions. Your mind is constantly in the future. Had you not been future-focused, your company might’ve drained a lot of money and ended up bankrupt like the rest.

In today’s business environment, the minute you stop thinking critically, your company will start lagging. You can only think critically if you’re curious, and that’s why curiosity is a CFO’s best friend. 

As a CFO, your job is to give direction to the company. Building trust speeds up that process. Trust happens with connection. So, don’t hesitate to attend meetings not relevant to you. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions and identify loopholes. After all, progress always comes from curiosity.

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