Qualities of a Great Chief Financial Officer

January 26, 2019
The role of a CFO demands integrity, attention to detail, and versatility

Zachari Cargnino of Diagnostic Link is proud to hold the title “chief financial officer” in the company. As such, he is responsible for keeping accurate financial and tax records, keeping the board and executive team informed about the company’s current financial state, and helping to make decisions of various types concerning the company’s future activities. Fulfilling these responsibilities takes not only education and experience, but also certain personal characteristics. Here are just a few of the character qualities that make a great chief financial officer for any business.

Integrity

Stories of failure in the area of integrity abound in the business world. It seems that news headlines are constantly being made by executives or entire executive teams of companies that did not follow important federal or state laws regarding tax payment, insurance, transparency, forbidden types of transactions, or other financial activities. In this environment, it is critical for a chief financial officer to be above reproach in the area of integrity. The company’s leadership team, board, and employees alike must feel that they can trust the CFO to understand the applicable laws and regulations, comply with them, and disclose all relevant information to the appropriate parties so that the company is always above board in all areas. Whatever various activities the CFO conducts within the company, one feature should remain consistent across all of them: trustworthiness to do the right thing in every situation, however difficult it may be or whatever challenges it may create for the business to solve.

Attention to Detail

In the role of Zachari Cargnino as CFO of Diagnostic Link, numbers are obviously central. Gone are the days when the tools of the accountant’s trade were pencil and paper, with endless opportunities for human error to copy down numbers incorrectly or make mathematical mistakes. Today’s CFOs rely on digital solutions to provide much more reliable accounting, but it is still essential for a great chief financial officer to be meticulously detail-oriented. Even the best finance software depends on input from a human being who not only understands the software itself, but also the financial structure, needs, and goals of the company in great detail.

As a member of the executive leadership team (and often also as a member of the board of directors), the chief financial officer has a responsibility to contribute to the company’s planning for the future in a unique way. Whereas other executives may provide visionary ideas, innovation, and creativity, the CFO must often balance those qualities with the reality found in the company’s finances. A business only has so much money to spend in any given area, and the CFO must examine ideas from a financial standpoint, identify what those ideas are likely to cost, and search for any “hidden costs” that could negatively impact the company in the long run. Attention to detail is critical during these planning phases, ensuring that the leadership does not take the company in a direction or embark on a long-term research project that could place it in financial jeopardy down the road.

Versatility

Clearly, a large part of the success of any company, whether it is a large, established corporation or a young startup, lies in its ability to use its financial resources in the best way possible. A great chief financial officer is able to view the company’s finances at a glance and understand how it may be possible to adjust the overall approach-or the approaches of separate divisions—to better situate the company for future success. Staying locked into a certain budget model or keeping money within certain divisions when it could be more profitably used elsewhere will hold a company back, while versatility and creativity, always balanced by great carefulness, can help that same company make the most of its initial investment and generate surprising amounts of new revenue.

Zachari Cargnino is proud of his past achievements with Diagnostic Link, and he is excited about what the future years have in store for this unusual and promising business. Diagnostic Link is at the forefront of providing convenient, tested digital mental health screening tools for institutions and physicians in a wide range of different applications.