Career path to CFO/Finance Director?

Jun 26, 2012
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Greetings all...

I'm in need of career advice - I'm unsure what route to take next...

I've been with the same company for 5 years. I finished the ACCA 6 months ago. All of my accountancy experience has come in industry, and I've now got a lot of experience in managing teams/projects, strategic finance and financial/business analysis.

I had been hoping that, at some point in the future the Finance Director role could be attainable where I am, but since that time someone has been brought in above me.

Given the amount of time I've been at the company (and my increasing age!), I'm beginning to wonder whether its time I should move on. My role now has become quite unstructured, being a resource used by a number of divisions in the company for a multitude of tasks. There seems to be little consensus over what my role is, and so my role has no clear objectives. Whilst I'm being told my work and output is excellent, I'm not really able to 'carve a niche' in the company and find myself floating.

I think I've answered my own opening question in the above really, but what are peoples' thoughts on this? I feel I'm getting decent experience where I am, but not quite at the right level. Is it time to move on?

My main question is what type of experience should I be aiming for next to eventually land a Finance Director/CFO role. Also, should I be looking at undertaking any particular training post ACCA to help?


VIP Member
Oct 12, 2011
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United States
I am in a similar situation where I am used for short bursts ( 2 - 4 years) to problem solve areas that have issues and have worked in corporate controller roles, budgeting, internationally and the operation side of our business. Instead of looking at this as me not having any clear direction I view this as an opportunity to understand multi facets of our business that will help in my career. In my case, I have been involved with larger projects and teams and have gained invaluable insight into our business and how to communciate effectively to get things done. As long as that is the case for you I think you are on the right track. Also, 5 years in the same company doesnt give you enough time to really understand the operation so be more patient. Look for opportunities to lead an area and when the opportunity presents itself you will have the qualifications to jump into that CFO/Director role. I also think as a CFO/Director carving a niche is not what they need but someone who understands all the moving parts of the business and is someone that can immediately make a difference.

Have you also inquired why you were not considered for the internal role such that you can build on those shortfalls? Have you disclosed your career goals as part of the performance review process? If you are an important asset to your firm, its important you try and express these aspirations and continue to volunteer to participate in important projects and broaden your experience.

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