- December 14, 2023
Aspiring CFOs expect to reach the position in 3.8 years: IMA India survey
The ‘2023 CFO NxT Survey’ was conducted to analyse the succession planning in IMA’s CFO Nxt Forum member organisations and delved into the skills the members concentrate on for growth, actions, and preparedness for a CXO-level role.
A recently conducted survey by business and economic research firm IMA India found that on average, professionals who anticipate a rise to the role of a chief financial officer (CFO) expect to reach the position in 3.8 years, while direct reports expect the promotion faster than those 2 levels down.
The ‘2023 CFO NxT Survey’ was conducted to analyse the succession planning in IMA’s CFO Nxt Forum member organisations and delved into the skills the members concentrate on for growth, actions, and preparedness for a CXO-level role. The study saw the participation of more than 50 CFO NxT Forum members, comprising leaders in senior management roles and in-line CFO.
Among the standout findings of this report is the prevalence of professional qualifications among respondents, with approximately 87% holding esteemed designations such as CA, CFA, and FRM as their highest educational attainment. This underscores the significance placed on specialized credentials within this cohort.
With average work experience of 17 years, spending about 7.5 years in their current company and three years in their present roles, these individuals showcase seasoned backgrounds.
Surprisingly, the study found that only 32% have received formal or informal indications of being potential successors to their current CFOs, yet a substantial 75% anticipate such nominations.
Respondents with more work experience revealed that they expect a faster route to a promotion. However, it’s interesting to note that, on average, those with less than 10 years of experience are predicted to have around half the total years of work experience by the time they become CFOs compared to those with 15 to 20 years of experience.
The survey highlighted a preference for soft skills over technical prowess among future CFOs, citing strategic thinking, leadership, financial expertise, ability to connect diverse elements, and ethical integrity as the paramount attributes for the role. However, while participants feel well-prepared in areas like ethical integrity and team management, there’s a perceived deficiency in skills related to risk management and networking.
The findings from this survey paint a portrait of a highly qualified, ambitious cohort with a strategic focus on skills development and a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted journey toward CFOship. As these professionals navigate their trajectories, the emphasis on soft skills alongside traditional expertise marks a defining feature of their aspirations and preparations for the future finance landscape.