Top 5 Blogs That CFOs Are Reading

09/25/2023 06:56:21 +0000

It's the end of the year and don't we all feel it! Amidst the frantic tying up of loose ends for end-of-year reporting and the personal prep for Christmas and holidays, it's a good time to reflect on the year that's been.

That said, I know you might simply have tunnel vision to the end of the year and you're planning to do your 2022 thinking and reflection during the break. If that's you, then I encourage you to save or print this article so you can have it on hand when you do that reflection.

You'll probably ask yourself,

'Am I where I should be?'
'What do I need to know?'.

To help you answer those questions, I thought I'd share with you the top 5 most-read articles of the year by CFOs. This will give you an idea of what your peers are reading, what they're learning and provide you with a snapshot of the insights in each to help inform your plans for 2022.

In order of most read, here are the top 5 articles read by CFOs this year:

1. Why CFOs need to play bigger

As the most-read article of the year, this article was fundamentally about growth.

In a role that continues to expand in remit, it can easy to lose the simplicity of why continuous improvement and growth for CFOs is so important.

This article reminded us that CFOs must stay in top form so they can:

 1. stay out of the regulators' way
 2. create value for their business
gain leverage with their people so they can  3. get more done, effortlessly.
It's really that simple.

Ask yourself:

  • In all your 'busy-ness' are you investing your time and energy in the right ways to satisfy those 3 mandates?
  • What else is filling your week?
  • What can you start, stop or modify to ensure your growth is purposeful?

2. How CFOs can help each other win

In a role that's usually a one-person-show in any organisation, this article was about the elevated levels of success and fulfilment you can achieve when surrounding yourself with other like-minded CFOs who can help solve your problems and achieve your goals.

I shared a case study from our CFO Boardroom and gave examples of the types of problems we helped one of our amazing CFOs through during the 2021 lockdown.

Ask yourself:

  • Who do you have in your network that will proactively help you improve in your job and grow your career?
  • Who are the people you can 'let your hair down' and be vulnerable with?
  • Where is your safe space?


This article aligned and compared the Institute of the Future's "Future Work Skills 2020" research, with the 12 key skills of a CFO of the future documented in my latest book of the same name. For a role that continues to rapidly evolve, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that you have to keep 'adding' to your skillset. That's not the case. I overlaid the 12 key skills of a CFO of the future onto the 'Future Work Skills 2020' so you can be comfortable that you've got them covered.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my key goals for 2022?
  • What are the CFO skills I need to focus on and amplify to achieve those goals?
  • Do I need to sharpen my skills?

Source: CFO of the Future, Alena Bennett 2021


4. How to be the CFO your CEO and team needs

Timed with the new financial year, at its core, this article was about the role of reflection in strategic thinking.

CEOs need their CFOs to be thinking and acting strategically, so they can get on with enrolling all the many stakeholders, shareholders and staff into the vision and creating the future.

So how does a CFO rise to be who they need to be? No one sits down with the CFO and says, "Let's sit down so you make sure you're set up for success." If you don't plan it and prioritise it, it won't happen.

This article took you through the reflective process (and specific questions) my clients go through to ensure they:

  • Have clarity on the outcome they're looking for
  • Are equipped to make the best decisions to accelerate their progress.

Ask yourself:

  • How embedded is the skill of reflection into your work week?
  • How much time do you spend thinking and acting strategically?
  • Are you clear on what your CEO needs from you?

5. How to make the most of half-time for CFOs

This article is about creating the space to amplify your impact. Specifically, it's about:

  • The CFO skills that together amplify your impact (executive presence, influence and visionary decision making) and

  • Taking 100% responsibility for your impact.

It covers the possibilities for performance when we do take the time to open our brains. When we create space, we allow ourselves to be better on the other side. Greater impact opens more doors.

This is a perfect time of year to reset and make 'space' a priority.

Ask yourself:
  • Have you had the impact you wanted in 2021?
  • What is the impact you want to have in 2022?
  • What space do you need to create?

So what? What does this tell us?

Knowing what the most-read articles for the year is about far more than knowing what's on trend. The significance is discerning what that means for 2022.

The 3 themes that have clearly emerged from the most read articles in 2021 are:

 1. CFOs want to create value. The ultimate in service professionals, CFOs want to help their businesses, their CEOs, their teams and each other. However, they want to make sure they're helping in the right places.

 2. CFOs want to maintain (and grow) their success in the future. They want to make sure they keep their finger on the pulse with respect to what it takes to position themselves as a CFO who can successfully lead their businesses into the future.

 3. CFOs want time and space to elevate their impact. CFOs know that peak performance means taking the time and space to do the thinking that keeps them playing at their best.

CFOs want to be proactive about their success

It is clear from the readership trend that CFOs want to know what's coming so they can be prepared to lead themselves and the people around them. There is a high desire to be proactive about their success. I see this a lot.

However, the thing that I see gets in the way of that proactiveness and the #1 critical success factor in achieving those 'wants' above is this:

CFOs need to know what's important to them. (What's really important)
Believe it or not, knowing with great clarity what's important to them isn't something all CFOs possess. We're so used to helping others, that we fall into the trap of believing that being in service means prioritising others' needs and focusing on what they want. But this simple shift in mindset is the #1 thing that will create a dramatic shift in your results.
That's because when you know what's important to you, you can be intentional about your definition of success, the value you create and the routines, rhythms and cadences you set up for your work.
Therefore, my message to you over this break would be for you to take the time to know what's important. Once you know that, then you can be intentional with your energy, with your time and with your resources.
Do you know what's most important to you for 2022?

Author: Alena Bennett

Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people.
She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on [email protected]
Grab your copy of Alena's CFO of the Future!

This is the trusted guide for CFOs to lead with IMPACT and create VALUE.

Grab your copy of Alena's Meaning Matters!

It's time for women in finance to find power in their purpose!

 ⓒ 2023




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