The First 100 Days as a CFO: A Comprehensive Guide

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Starting as a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can be overwhelming. The first three months, also known as the “first 100 days” are crucial for setting the tone for your tenure and establishing a strong foundation for future growth. With so much to do, where do you begin? This post will cover all the basics of being a new CFO and provide insight on what should be done during your first 100 days.

As a CFO, your role involves more than just numbers. You’ll have to spearhead the financial strategy of your organization and work closely with other departments and business units. By understanding the timescale of your initial position, you can lead your team effectively towards your organization’s goals. Here, we’ll break down the most important aspects of your first 100 days, including a new CFO checklist and tips on how to be an excellent CFO.

In this post, we’ll also explore the history of some of the most successful CFOs in business, including the first CFO of Facebook. We’ll examine what they did in their first 100 days and how their actions set the tone for their success. Additionally, we’ll discuss the first meeting with a new CFO and how to make the right impression in that vital engagement.

Finally, we’ll also debate whether being a CFO is worth it, looking at the benefits and disadvantages of the job. We’ll highlight the importance of McKinsey’s CFO First 100 Days report that provides a roadmap for new CFOs. Lastly, we’ll analyze what FDR did when taking office during his first 100 days and extract powerful insights that can be applied to today’s CFOs.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a complete understanding of the first 100 days of being a CFO, a checklist of the most important things to prioritize, and tips on how to be successful in this vital role. Let’s dive in!

The First 100 Days as a CFO: A Guide to Success

As a newly appointed CFO in any company, the first 100 days are critical for your success as a leader. You want to establish yourself as a competent and visionary financial officer who will guide the company’s financial direction towards growth and success. While it may seem daunting, this guide will help you navigate through the first 100 days with ease and ensure your success.

Setting Clear Expectations

One of the most important things you need to do as a new CFO is to set clear expectations with your team. Reach out to your team clearly and leave no room for errors, telling them why you’re there, the role they play in the company’s success, and how you will work with them to achieve the company’s financial goals.

Identifying Quick Wins

In the first 100 days as CFO, you need to identify and invest in quick wins that can bring significant gains in the short term. This will give you much-needed credibility and show your team and other executive stakeholders that you’re here to create value for the company. In addition to these little wins, it is also crucial to understand and address concerns that the finance team members have quickly.

Reviewing and Updating Financial Processes

A new CFO should take a deep understanding of the finance team’s existing processes and identify areas that require an overhaul. This review is essential as it provides insight into procedures that have been working well and those that require adjustment moving forward. By doing this, you will instill confidence in the team and differentiate yourself.

Collaborating with Other Leaders

As CFO, you will often partner with other leaders across the company, such as the CEO, CMO, and COO. It is essential to establish a collaboration structure to ensure that everyone works cohesively towards the same goals.
It is also essential that you work with other leaders in a way that demonstrates how your team can add value to their initiatives, resulting in mutual benefit.

Seeking Feedback

It is also important to seek feedback from the team regarding the transition experience as a new CFO. This feedback should be used to improve operational efficiency, address any concerns and reinforce strengths while positioning oneself with confidence.

In conclusion, the first 100 days as a CFO are a period of transition and acclimation. By setting clear expectations, identifying quick wins, reviewing and updating financial procedures, collaborating with other leaders and seeking feedback, a newly appointed CFO can establish themselves as an effective leader. With this guide, you can navigate the crucial first 100 days with confidence and establish yourself as an essential member of the company’s leadership team.

CFO Basics

Starting a new role as a CFO can be daunting. Not only are you responsible for managing financial operations and driving business strategy, but you also need to prove yourself and build relationships with your team and other stakeholders. Here are some basics to keep in mind as you begin your first 100 days as CFO:

Know the Business Inside and Out

Before you can effectively manage the financial operations of a company, you need to understand how the business operates. Spend time getting to know different departments, the company’s products or services, and its overall vision and mission. This will help you identify areas of opportunity and potential risks.

Build Strong Relationships

As CFO, you will need to work closely with various stakeholders, including the CEO, board members, investors, and internal teams. Taking the time to build strong relationships with these individuals can go a long way in ensuring a successful transition. Schedule time to meet with each person, ask for their input, and find common ground to build upon.

Establish Strategic Goals

What are the company’s top priorities and how do your financial operations support them? Establishing clear strategic goals will help you prioritize your efforts and ensure alignment with the broader organization. Work with the executive team to identify specific objectives and metrics that can be tracked over time.

Focus on Cash Flow

While profitability is certainly important, cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. As CFO, it’s critical to develop a strong cash management strategy that ensures adequate liquidity to meet your company’s needs. This includes monitoring accounts payable and receivable, managing short-term investments, and forecasting cash needs for the future.

Becoming a successful CFO is no easy feat, but by focusing on these basics, you can establish a strong foundation for long-term success. Remember to stay curious, collaborate with others, and keep a pulse on the financial health of your organization. With time and dedication, you’ll earn the trust and respect of your colleagues and become a valued leader within your company.

Timescale for a New CFO

As a new CFO, you’re expected to hit the ground running and deliver results quickly. While the first 100 days are critical, you also need to have a long-term vision for the company. Here’s what you need to consider when developing your timescale:

Short Term Goals

When starting a new role as CFO, it’s essential to have specific goals for your first few months. The short term goals you have in mind must be achievable and help build up momentum for your long-term goals. Some of the goals you can have for the short term include:

  • Reviewing the financial statements
  • Meeting key stakeholders
  • Evaluating the current financial processes and controls
  • Understanding the strategic direction of the company

Medium-term Goals

Once you’ve achieved your short-term goals, it’s time to focus on your medium-term goals. These goals should last up to two years and ensure the future growth of the company. Some of the objectives to have for medium term include:

  • Restructuring the outdated systems
  • Implementing new systems and procedures
  • Developing an effective forecasting and budgeting process
  • Creating an investor roadmap

Long-term Goals

Every new CFO must come up with long-term goals that align with the company’s vision and mission. These goals can last for numerous years, and they should be an integral part of developing corporate culture. Below are some of the long-term goals to consider:

  • Increasing revenue by entering new markets
  • Enhancing shareholder value
  • Acquiring other companies
  • Building a world-class finance team

In conclusion, when starting as a new CFO, it’s crucial to have specific goals in mind for the short, medium, and long-term. Ensure that those goals align with the point of view of the company, ensure you have clear timescales for these goals, and be sure to monitor their progress regularly. That way, you’ll achieve your objectives and secure the long-term success of the company.

New CFO Checklist

Starting a new job is always challenging, even when you are a highly experienced professional. As a new CFO, you will likely face a series of challenges unique to your role. Here is a checklist that you can use during your first 100 days as CFO:

Understand the Company’s Goals

First things first, you need to understand the company’s goals and how the finance organization fits into them. It’s important to get to know the business and finance strategy, as well as the key stakeholders you will work with daily.

Assess the Financials

You should perform a comprehensive analysis of the financials to understand the current financial situation of the company. Analyze the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flow to determine the company’s financial health and if any changes need to be made.

Develop a Relationship with the Executive Team

As CFO, you will be working closely with the executive team. Take the time to build relationships with them and get to know their priorities. This will help you better understand the overall goals of the company.

Define Your Priorities

As CFO, you will have a lot on your plate. It’s important to prioritize what you will focus on during your first 100 days. Define a clear roadmap with clear deliverables, so you can measure and track your progress.

Create a Culture of Financial Discipline

One of the most important aspects of your role is ensuring financial discipline in the organization. Establish and communicate your expectations for the finance team so they can understand what is expected of them.

Organize the Finance Team

To be successful, you need to build a strong finance team. Take the time to evaluate the skills and capabilities of your team members and make any necessary changes. Work with your team to establish clear goals and expectations.

In conclusion, starting a new job can be challenging, but with this checklist, you will be able to jump-start your success as a CFO. By understanding the company’s goals, assessing the financials, developing a relationship with the executive team, defining priorities, creating a culture of financial discipline, and organizing the finance team, you will be well on your way to success.

How to Be a Good CFO

Being a successful CFO takes more than just being good with numbers. Here are some tips on how to be a great CFO:

Understand Your Business

One of the most crucial aspects of being a good CFO is understanding your business inside and out. This means understanding the company’s goals, objectives, and financial and non-financial performance metrics.

Be an Effective Communicator

As CFO, you don’t just crunch numbers; you must be able to communicate your observations and insights to others in the company, both financial and non-financial personnel. As a good communicator, you should be able to translate complex financial concepts into easy-to-understand language and articulate them with ease.

Build Strong Relationships

Building strong relationships with people inside and outside of the company is vital for the CFO. You need to build a solid rapport with your colleagues, particularly with the CEO and the board of directors, as they are the ones who will shape the vision and strategy of the company.

Stay on Top of Industry Trends

A good CFO should stay current on industry developments, including emerging trends, regulations, and best practices. By staying abreast of these changes, you can suggest ways to adapt and stay ahead of your competitors.

Plan Ahead

Finally, a great CFO should always be prepared and plan ahead for whatever financial challenge the company may face. Being proactive by identifying potential risks and opportunities will help ensure the company’s financial success in the long run.

In conclusion, being a good CFO requires a combination of financial skills, strong relationship-building abilities, and effective communication skills. With the right approach and mindset, you can make a significant impact on your company’s bottom line.

The First CFO of Facebook

When Sheryl Sandberg became Facebook’s COO in 2008, she quickly realized the company needed a more experienced financial mind to help it grow and become profitable. She turned her attention to David Ebersman, an experienced CFO with a track record of success in the healthcare industry.

Hiring a CFO from Outside the Company

Facebook had never had a CFO before, so hiring Ebersman was a landmark event. Sandberg was careful to choose someone with experience working with public companies who could help Facebook navigate the transition from a private company to a public one as smoothly as possible.

Ebersman’s Early Challenges

Ebersman’s early days at Facebook were not without their challenges. One of the biggest issues he faced was convincing the market that Facebook was worth investing in. Many investors were skeptical of Facebook’s business model and the amount of revenue it could generate from advertising.

Ebersman’s Successes

But Ebersman persevered, working tirelessly to build relationships with investors and make the case for Facebook’s future growth potential. He put in place sound financial policies and procedures that helped Facebook weather the storm of its rocky initial public offering in 2012.

Lessons for the First 100 Days

For any new CFO, there are lessons to be learned from Ebersman’s experience. First and foremost, it’s important to focus on building relationships with investors and the market. Without their buy-in, it can be difficult to achieve success.

Additionally, it’s important to be patient and understand that change takes time. Ebersman spent months building relationships and implementing policies and procedures before any tangible change was seen.

Lastly, it’s critical to be a strategic thinker and stay ahead of the curve. Ebersman was continually thinking about Facebook’s future and how the company could innovate and grow, even at a time when the market was skeptical of its prospects.

In short, the first CFO of Facebook was instrumental in helping the company achieve its current success. His experience provides valuable lessons for any CFO starting their tenure at a new company.

First Meeting with CFO

The first meeting with the CFO can be nerve-wracking, but it’s essential to make a good first impression. Here are some tips to ensure you make the most out of your first meeting with your new CFO.

Be Prepared

Before going into the meeting, make sure you are fully prepared. Do your research on the company, its financials, and the CFO’s background. This will help you understand the expectations of your new position and give you a good idea of how you can contribute to the company.

Listen Attentively

When you finally meet the CFO, listen attentively to what they have to say. Instead of focusing on what you want to say next, try to understand their point of view. This will give you a better understanding of their goals and expectations, which will help you make better decisions later on.

Be Honest

It’s important to be honest with the CFO about your experience, skills, and limitations. Being upfront about what you know and don’t know will help the CFO better evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks that are appropriate to your skillset.

Avoid Overpromising

During the meeting, avoid making any promises that you can’t fulfill. Overpromising and underdelivering is a surefire way to lose the trust of your new boss. Instead, be realistic about what you can accomplish given your resources and timeline.

Ask Questions

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The first meeting is the perfect time to get to know the CFO and what they expect from you. Asking questions also shows that you are interested and invested in the success of the company.

In conclusion, the first meeting with the CFO is an excellent opportunity to make a good impression, understand expectations, and build a strong professional relationship. By being prepared, honest, attentive, realistic, and inquisitive, you’ll be well on your way to success in your new role.

Is Being a CFO Worth It

Asking whether being a chief financial officer (CFO) is worth it is a valid question. After all, the job of a CFO comes with a lot of responsibility, and it’s not for everyone. However, if you’re considering a career as a CFO, there are a lot of good reasons why it might be worth the effort.

The Financial Rewards

One of the most apparent advantages of being a CFO is financial compensation. CFOs are typically some of the highest-paid professionals out there, with high salaries, bonuses, and stock options.

The Prestige

Another factor to consider is the prestige that comes with the job. CFOs are some of the most respected people in the corporate world, with a lot of influence over a company’s direction and strategy.

The Challenge

Being a CFO is also a challenging role; it requires a high level of financial expertise, strategic thinking, and leadership abilities. If you are the type of person who enjoys being pushed to your limits and is always looking for new challenges, then being a CFO might be worth it.

The Chance to Make a Difference

As a CFO, you have a significant impact on a company’s financial performance and success. You can help steer the company towards growth and success, helping to create jobs and opportunities for others.

Overall, being a CFO can be a highly rewarding and fulfilling profession. It comes with its unique challenges, but for those who are up for the task, it can be worth it in the end. If you’re considering a career as a CFO, make sure to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it’s the right fit for you.

The First 100 Days as a CFO: Lessons from McKinsey

If you’re a new CFO, you’re likely feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety. Your first 100 days are crucial as they can set the tone for your tenure, and you’ll want to make a great first impression.

According to management consulting firm McKinsey, there are a few key things you can do to make the most of your first 100 days:

Set clear expectations

Before diving into the job, you should discuss expectations with your boss and the board. What are their priorities for you? What do they see as your biggest challenges? What do they hope you achieve in your first few months? Answers to these questions can help you set realistic goals and determine how you’ll be evaluated over time.

Assess the team

Spend some time getting to know the team you’ll be leading. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Who are the key players? Who might need some coaching or additional training? By understanding the team dynamics, you’ll be better positioned to make strategic changes that can help the organization succeed.

Build relationships

As a new CFO, you’ll want to build relationships with other key players in the organization, including executives, department heads, and external partners. These relationships can help you gain insight into how the organization works and identify opportunities for improvement.

Get a handle on the finances

One of the most important tasks for any CFO is to get a clear picture of the organization’s finances. You should review financial statements, understand the budgeting process, and get a handle on cash flow. By doing so, you’ll be better positioned to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources.

Communicate regularly

Regular communication with key stakeholders is essential for success as a CFO. You should be transparent about your goals and progress, communicate any challenges you’re facing, and provide updates on ongoing projects. By doing so, you’ll build trust and credibility with others in the organization.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful first 100 days as a CFO. Remember to be patient, stay focused, and prioritize your most important tasks.

What Should a New CFO Do First

Congratulations, you just landed a new job as a CFO! The first 100 days as a CFO can be overwhelming, as you are expected to make a lot of important decisions, establish relationships, and set the business strategy. It’s natural to feel a little lost, but don’t worry. In this subsection, we will outline the key things you should do in your first days on the job to make a smooth transition and set yourself and the business up for success.

Get to Know the Company

As a new CFO, it’s essential that you take the time to understand the company’s culture, vision, mission, goals, and its financial position. You need to know how the company makes money and the key drivers of its financial performance.

Build Relationships

As a CFO, you’ll need to work closely with other executives like the CEO, COO, CMO, and CTO. Building relationships with these key stakeholders is crucial to the success of the business. You should meet with each of them to get a sense of their priorities, expectations, and how you can support them.

Review Financials and Establish Controls

Before you start making any big decisions, it’s important to review the company’s financial statements and ensure that the controls in place are appropriate. If there are any significant issues, you’ll need to address them immediately.

Evaluate and Optimize Processes

As CFO, you are responsible for ensuring that the company’s financial processes are efficient, accurate and effective. You should take the time to review all of the company’s financial processes and identify any areas that could be optimized.

Develop a Business Strategy

As CFO, you play a critical role in developing the company’s business strategy. You should work closely with the CEO and the rest of the executive team to develop a strategic plan that aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.

In conclusion, the first 100 days as a CFO can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can set yourself and the company up for success. By getting to know the company, building relationships, reviewing financials, evaluating and optimizing processes, and developing a business strategy, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful CFO!

Typical Day of a CFO

As a CFO, you have a crucial role in any organization’s financial management, and your day-to-day activities can involve a wide array of responsibilities. Here’s an overview of what you can expect on a typical day at work.


The first few hours of your workday will likely be filled with meetings, conference calls, and emails. You might have scheduled meetings with senior executives, department heads, or members of your finance team. During these meetings, you’ll be reviewing financial reports, discussing budgets, and making strategic decisions as a team.

Your inbox will also be full of emails that you’ll need to respond to promptly. You’ll need to prioritize these emails based on their urgency and content. Some of the emails may require your immediate attention, while others can be addressed later in the day.


After taking a short coffee break to recharge, you’ll dive into the core financial activities of the day. You’ll be reviewing financial reports, analyzing data, and making strategic decisions based on what the data shows. You’ll need to keep an eye on the cash flow, revenue, expenses, and other financial metrics that are essential to the organization’s success.

Depending on the time of the month, you may also be focused on closing the books for the current financial period. During this time, you’ll work closely with your accounting team to ensure that all expenses are accurately recorded, and your revenue is accounted for. You’ll also be reviewing journal entries, account reconciliations, and other bookkeeping tasks.


As the day wears on, your focus might shift to longer-term goals and strategic planning. You might have more meetings with senior executives or members of the board, or you might spend some time reviewing your financial strategy and identifying areas for improvement.

During this time, you’ll also be looking at the macroeconomic factors that are affecting the organization’s financial health. You’ll be analyzing market trends, evaluating risks, and developing contingency plans to ensure that the organization can weather any financial storms.

Late Afternoon

By the end of the day, your schedule may be filled with various ad-hoc activities, depending on what is happening in the organization. You may be required to attend last-minute meetings, complete time-sensitive assignments, or provide guidance to members of your team.

At this time, you may also take some time to review your to-do list and prioritize the tasks for the next day. Before you log off for the day, you’ll also review your emails, respond to any urgent requests, and make sure that you’re up to date with the latest developments in the organization.

As a CFO, your day is likely to be filled with a mix of meetings, data analysis, and strategic planning. Whether you’re busy closing the books, reviewing financial reports, or developing long-term financial plans, your role is critical to the success of the organization. By mastering time management skills and staying focused on your goals, you’ll be able to lead the financial team, mitigate risks, and guide the organization towards financial sustainability and growth.

What to Accomplish as a New CFO in the First 100 Days

Starting a new job is exciting, and being a CFO is one of the most critical roles in any organization. However, it can also be overwhelming when you are tasked with leading complex financial operations. In the first 100 days, you need to create a good understanding of the company’s financial position and develop a plan to improve it. Here is a list of things every new CFO should do in the first 100 days:

Conduct a Thorough Assessment of the Financial Situation

Before anything else, you should carry out a complete analysis of the company’s financial situation. The analysis includes evaluating the current state of the financial operations, identifying and resolving any financial issues, assessing the risks, and making projections for the future.

Build a Strong Relationship with Stakeholders

The CFO role involves working with other executives and the board of directors, which is why it’s crucial to build a strong relationship with them. Establish a good working relationship and understand their priorities, including learning about the company’s structure, mission, vision, values, and culture.

Develop a Financial Strategy

A CFO needs to develop a financial strategy that aligns with the company’s objectives. Take the time to understand the company’s goals and develop a plan that spells out the financial objectives that will get you there.

Create an Efficient Finance Team

The CFO should assemble a capable finance team that can help execute the financial strategy successfully. Hire a team with the right skills and expertise, communicate with them regularly, and make sure they understand their roles and responsibilities.

Identify Opportunities to Optimize Financial Performance

A CFO should evaluate financial performance continuously to identify opportunities for improvement. Review the financial statements, systems, procedures, and policies, and identify areas that can be optimized for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Implement Proper Controls and Procedures

One of the CFO’s primary responsibilities is to ensure the company’s financial operations are in compliance with legal requirements. Evaluate existing financial controls, policies, and procedures, and implement any changes or new controls necessary to ensure compliance.

Focus on Continuous Learning and Development

As a CFO, you must stay updated with trends, regulations, and practices in the financial field. Focus on continuous learning and development by attending training programs, industry conferences, workshops, and networking events.

In conclusion, these are the essential things every CFO should focus on during their first 100 days in the job. By following these guidelines, you can establish a strong presence and set the foundation for a successful tenure as the organization’s CFO.

What Actions Did FDR Take in His First 100 Days

Franklin D. Roosevelt, also known as FDR, is widely considered one of the most successful US presidents in history due to his extensive accomplishments during his first 100 days in office. He was determined to lead the country out of the Great Depression and implemented numerous policies to achieve this goal. Let’s take a closer look at some of the actions that FDR took during this critical period.

The New Deal

One of FDR’s most significant achievements during his first 100 days in office was the introduction of the New Deal, a series of programs aimed at boosting the economy and creating jobs. The New Deal included the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided employment opportunities for young men in conservation projects across the country. FDR also implemented the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which provided relief to farmers by raising crop prices and reducing agricultural surpluses.

Banking Reform

FDR recognized that the unstable banking system was one of the main causes of the Great Depression, and he implemented significant reforms to stabilize the financial sector. One of the most significant reforms was the Emergency Banking Act, which allowed the federal government to assist in the reopening of banks that had closed during the depression. This measure restored public confidence in the banking system and helped to prevent further bank failures.

Industrial Recovery

FDR was also committed to improving the industrial sector and increasing employment opportunities for workers. He introduced the National Industrial Recovery Act, which aimed to promote the recovery of the industrial sector by establishing fair competition codes for businesses and labor practices. This measure helped to boost production and employment and improve working conditions for workers.

FDR’s actions during his first 100 days in office had a significant impact on the country’s economic recovery and set the foundation for his successful presidency. His policies focused on creating jobs, stabilizing the banking system, and promoting industrial recovery, all of which contributed to rebuilding the nation’s economy. FDR’s leadership and decisive actions paved the way for the many achievements that would follow during his presidency.

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