06. 02. 2024

Unlocking Success: The Best Time to Pursue a CFO Role

Unlocking Success: The Best Time to Pursue a CFO Role

In the dynamic landscape of corporate leadership, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) stands as a pivotal figure, steering financial strategies and guiding organisations towards prosperity. Yet, for aspiring finance professionals eyeing the coveted CFO position, timing is everything. When is the best time to embark on the journey towards this esteemed role? Let's delve into the strategic considerations and opportune moments to make your move.

Early Career Foundations

For many, the journey to CFO begins with laying solid foundations early in one's career. Entry-level roles in finance, accounting, or related fields serve as crucial stepping stones. Aspiring CFOs should seek diverse experiences, honing skills in financial analysis, budgeting, and strategic planning. These formative years provide invaluable insights and expertise essential for future leadership roles.

Mid-Career Advancement

As professionals progress through their careers, mid-level management roles offer fertile ground for skill development and visibility. This stage is ideal for gaining specialised knowledge and leadership experience within finance departments. Proven track records in roles such as Finance Manager or Controller demonstrate readiness for higher responsibilities.

Strategic Inflection Points

The best time to pursue a CFO role often coincides with strategic inflection points in one's career and the organisation's trajectory. These moments may include:

Organisational Expansion: During periods of growth or expansion, organisations require visionary financial leadership to navigate complexities and capitalise on opportunities. As such, CFO positions may become available to drive strategic financial initiatives.

Industry Disruption: Disruptive forces within industries demand agile financial strategies. Professionals with a knack for innovation and adaptability are well-positioned to seize CFO opportunities, leading companies through transformational changes.

Succession Planning: Succession planning initiatives within organisations offer promising avenues for CFO aspirants. Proactive professionals can leverage these programs to showcase their readiness and commitment to assuming top financial leadership roles.

Personal Readiness and Market Conditions

Beyond organisational factors, personal readiness and market conditions play pivotal roles in determining the ideal timing for pursuing a CFO role. Considerations include:

Skill Set Alignment: Evaluate whether your skills, expertise, and leadership style align with the expectations and demands of a CFO position. Continuous skill development and self-assessment are essential.

Market Demand: Stay attuned to market trends and demand for financial leadership talent. Timing your pursuit of a CFO role to coincide with periods of heightened demand increases your chances of success.

Network and Relationships: Cultivate a strong professional network and nurture relationships with mentors and industry peers. These connections can provide valuable insights, recommendations, and opportunities for CFO roles.


In the quest for a CFO role, timing is a critical factor that hinges on a combination of career progression, organisational dynamics, and personal readiness. By strategically aligning career milestones with opportunities for growth and impact, aspiring CFOs can maximise their chances of success. Remember, the best time to pursue a CFO role is not just about seizing the moment—it's about crafting a trajectory towards enduring success in financial leadership.