Six Ways That a CFO Can Inspire Trust

October 27th 2023 | Posted by Phil Scott

The most successful CFOs understand how vital trust is. They develop an honest, open, and respectful culture in organizations by inspiring trust in them and their leadership. The practical tips in this article show how CFOs do this…

Build strong relationships

Understanding helps to create trust. The best way to develop understanding is to build strong relationships with other professionals across functions. Top CFOs build these relationships with other board members and with people at all levels throughout their team.

These relationships allow them to share their goals with others and to understand the aspirations and career goals of others. Having this knowledge of people and being willing to share thoughts and opinions builds trust.

Adhere to commitments and promises

Meeting commitments and delivering on promises is key to inspiring trust as a CFO. So, experienced professionals know the value of being realistic and honest. They understand that promising rewards to gain short-term buy-in does not work if the rewards cannot be delivered and sustained in the long term.

The most successful CFOs also recognize how essential it is to remember and value commitments in the face of distractions. Doing this means that peers and individuals throughout the organization know that they can be trusted to deliver on their commitments.

Embrace diversity and respect

Diversity is not simply a task for the human resources function; it’s a key responsibility for C-suite leaders, including CFOs. The most forward-thinking CFOs embrace the opportunity to promote diversity-centered onboarding processes and guide successful candidates from diverse backgrounds to success.

Honoring all people in this way shows that a CFO can be trusted to act fairly and considerately with all people. This inspires trust and respect for the CFO.

Take responsibility for outcomes

CFOs are responsible for protecting the assets of an organization. They also ensure regulatory compliance and communicate risk issues at board level. Given this level of responsibility, the most valuable CFOs understand they are accountable for their actions and for the outcomes they produce.

They take responsibility for the decisions they make and act positively to resolve any issues. They also recognize that the buck stops with them and take ownership of the actions of their team. Doing this shows they can be trusted not to avoid their responsibilities.

Spend time actively listening

The most trusted and respected CFOs do not shut themselves away from people. They know that being able to listen effectively is a vital skill. Actively listening involves paying attention to what someone is saying and not interrupting. It also involves checking understanding by paraphrasing and repeating.

CFOs who display active listening skills are more likely to be trusted by those around them. This is because they show an interest in people’s thoughts and ideas, and they engage rather than appear aloof and uninvolved.

Be transparent

CFOs are arbiters of ethical financial and business practices. So, to inspire trust, transparency and honesty are vital. The most respected CFOs communicate honestly with those around them. They do not hide potential problems as they recognize that doing so damages trust in them. They are also transparent about the financial position of the organization and about the best way forward.