The key to success for modern day CFOs - Explained by CFO turned business coach Sangeeta Shankaran Sumesh

The key to success for CFOs

  • Sangeeta Shankaran Sumesh is a seasoned CA, and a CFO turned business and leadership coach for high performance and financial growth.
  • Being the CEO of Gaintastic as well as the founder of ThinkUniQ, she has set a benchmark for other finance aspirants.
  • She has got some advice on how modern-day CFOs can succeed in this new world of finance. 

Fundamentals of Success: Explore Different Verticals

I think, for the most part, CFOs have to become business partners.

They need to go beyond their traditional role, then build the strategy and see how they can really partner with the business, keeping finance as the base. That is very important.

Apart from that, since everything is so tech-driven it is of utmost importance to be tech-savvy.

So the ability to learn and keep yourself updated with whatever is latest is crucial because that is when you will be able to contribute a lot more to the business.

So keep yourself updated, not just in your finance domain, but in areas that are related to your business, and see how much more you can contribute. 

Because many times I have noticed a lot of CFOs only focus on deep diving into the financial aspects, but they need to go much beyond. 

That is when their leadership skills are sharpened as well as they learn to take up additional responsibilities to contribute the most to the business. 

Finance is a great place to widen your horizon and explore new verticals and domains as long as you keep your mind open. 

For instance, I was in Thales which is a French multinational company. People often shifted verticals there for example a finance professional would move to an HR domain or even into operations and vice versa.

So, there is nothing stopping you. Provided, you are interested and you feel you have the capability, that is when your learning and scope will also broaden. 

A CFO does not have to restrict themselves only to finance. Besides, it is all digital now. So technology becomes a great part of it. And that applies to a startup as well. 

Fundamentals of success: Be an effective Leader

To me, a leader has to have an adaptive technique because everyone on the team is bound to be different.

Now as a leader, your role is to bring out the best in your team. And each one has different characteristics. 

For instance, in my previous role as a CFO, some used to be extremely technically sound, responsible, and aware of their duties while others needed more guidance and grooming.

So you cannot expect all your team members to adapt to your style.  

So if you have to get the best out of your team, you need to understand your team members.

Then help them get adapted to your format and enable them to give their best which also contributes to your success. 

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