There is a trend at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies that impacts the career path for some financial professionals. A recent study shows that only 35% of those companies had a COO on staff last year, a drop of 13% since 2000.
According to Chris Baysden’s article in CGMA Magazine, the reduction in payroll (or at least positions) at the top could mean that CFOs and other aspiring finance professionals need to expand their horizons, broaden their networking skills and develop a less linear career trajectory. Competition for top jobs will be even more fierce, responsibilities broader.
If you are an ambitious CFO aspiring to a big COO job, you may want to rethink your career goals. With fewer COO positions out there, more companies are looking for talented CFOs who understand both their financial world and the full scope of the company’s business, from strategy to supply chain, human resources to operations. Soft skills training is becoming more critical, too. No longer are professional acumen and aptitude the final determination points for promotion. It is a who you know, what you’ve done and the depth of your experiences that matter.
Networking for all professionals is not just about meeting new people, garnering interesting connections and collecting business cards. In this case, the real value is reaching into your own organization, learning about diverse business groups where you work and delving into initiatives and projects outside of the realm of finance.