Posted on 12 February 2019

CFO Series: 4 Questions Every CFO Should Ask Themselves

Chief Financial Officers in private equity firms are required to be current and proactive.  Their role is continuously evolving as the business cycle of the firm progresses, the core businesses of the organization mature, and new strategies unfold. 

In the face of unending challenges and a high-pressure environment, the great CFO recognizes opportunities during this evolution to provide their firm’s general partners and other senior leadership with strategic value in various areas of finance and operations.  How do they do it?

Alter Domus’ Sean Reilly explains how the great CFOs attain this success. Through his years working alongside senior management, other CFOs and his own experience serving as a private equity Chief Financial Officer as well as working in the private arms of The Blackstone Group and Credit Suisse, Sean has found that the best performing CFOs provide the greatest strategic value to their firm when they’re able to answer four key questions.

1. Do I understand my firm’s key stakeholders and the information they need?
2. Do I understand the risk areas of the firm and the finance and operations function?
3. Do I understand the resources available to me now and in the future?
4. Do I allocate sufficient time for strategic thinking?

Accomplished Chief Financial Officers can be found across the entire universe of private equity firms regardless of firm size and complexity, and there appears to be a common formula used by the CFOs who have set the bar of becoming strategic contributors to their firms (and have a seat at the table) versus the CFO who has not.  While this formula has been interpreted in many publications over the years, this series attempts to convey the secret to success through four simple questions that can help the CFO focus on strategic value in the dynamic, high pressure PE firm environment. 

These questions will help you, as a strategic financial and operational leader, maintain sharp focus and allow you to quickly differentiate between critical tasks and obstructive clutter.  The experienced CFO understands that these questions are generally not applied in sequence nor are they a “once and done” exercise, but instead may be applied simultaneously and regularly as part of their routine approach to their role.

To find the answers to these questions, download Alter Domus' CFO Series now.

Alter Domus serves 17 of the 20 largest private equity houses in the world. With seasoned professionals like Sean Reilly who understand the intricacies of the private equity world, our clients are in trusted, familiar hands. To learn more about our solutions or discuss any of the topics highlighted in this series, feel free to reach out to Sean Reilly.

Download the full CFO Series below.