IE is known for the entrepreneurial approach to al it´s masters. We change as the market demands change. Below a very clear article where it explains the new career paths of future CFO´s and how these paths have changed in the last three years.

Due to this changes IE Finance Admissions team is doint a route in Europe and Asia to explain how you can enhance your career opportunities in Finance and explain what the possible professional exits are within the finance sector.

Join the route at your city (Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zúrich) here


Between belt-tightening during the recession and the evolving role of the chief financial officer, some of the next generation of CFOs will find their career paths don’t resemble those of their predecessors.

To save money and bolster margins, many companies have shifted some of their more-basic finance functions, such as transaction processing and managing payments, to so-called shared-services centers or “centers of excellence” that serve multiple divisions. Finance departments are being asked to “do much more with less,” according to Jeffrey Garrity, formerly a divisional CFO at NCR Corp., NCR -0.11%which makes automated teller machines for banks and bar code scanners.

Mr. Garrity, who left NCR last year amid a departmental restructuring after nearly three decades at the company, said he had had about 15 jobs during his career, progressing through controllership and financial-planning roles to become a divisional finance chief.

But as many companies, including NCR, have centralized more functions, the traditional stepping-stone roles where budding finance executives could hone their technical and people skills are “lost today,” Mr. Garrity said.

Jack Nichols, who has been a CFO of several smaller public and private-equity-backed companies in the past 20 years, says he, too, got most of his training through frequent job changes at larger companies early in his career. “You have so many companies that are using shared-services centers and offshore accounting centers, or hiring consultants,” he said, “those positions just don’t exist anymore.”

The average company now has about 3.3 shared-services centers, up 15% from 2011, according to a study of 277 companies in April by Deloitte LLP. Some of these facilities are run by the companies themselves and others by third parties, such as consulting firms.

Companies also are expanding the scope of these centers beyond traditional back-office work, the study found, sending more tax and real-estate functions to centers both inside and outside the U.S.

As the CFO role has become more strategic in nature, companies are placing less emphasis on some traditional finance skills, such as accounting, recruiters say. “They’ll still have 15 jobs [on the way to CFO], but the mix of the 15 will be different,” said Peter Crist, chairman of Crist|Kolder Associates, a recruiting firm for corporate executives and directors.

With CFOs increasingly regarded as chief executives-in-waiting, Mr. Crist said larger companies are rotating rising finance stars through more operational and strategic roles, such as the chief operating officer or president of a division.

Nearly half of big-company CFOs appointed in the past three years have strategy and corporate-development experience on their résumés, up from just 22% of those appointed more than three years ago, according to a study of the 100 largest U.S. companies last year by executive-placement firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

As most companies centralize or outsource accounting for payables and receivables and supply-chain coordination, those functions no longer are regarded as providing the requisite skills for CFOs, Mr. Crist said. Whereas companies would once require externally recruited CFOs to be certified public accountants, Mr. Crist said clients now leave it up to his firm to determine whether an accounting background is even necessary.

Andy Beck, CFO of agricultural-machinery company Agco Corp., AGCO +1.64%said the increasingly global nature of business means that CFOs will “really have to have international experience to have a successful management experience.” Still, that doesn’t mean Agco has changed the way it thinks about succession planning, he said, noting that the company has plans that go down dozens of levels from the CFO to ensure it has the finance skills it needs on tap.

Some 51% of recently appointed CFOs had significant general-management experience, and 43% had international experience, compared with 35% and 25%, respectively, among those appointed more than three years ago, according to the Russell Reynolds study.

Finance staffs also are increasingly focused on business analysis and big data, so CFOs that lack those skills may find themselves unprepared, said Forbes Alexander, CFO of Jabil Circuit Inc., JBL -0.73%which helps companies design, manufacture and deliver products.

Jabil Circuit is halfway through a decadelong project to use big data to hone its global supply chain. But Mr. Alexander said finance employees with traditional accounting backgrounds aren’t always prepared to mine the data and interpret the results. He expects to have to retrain staff and hire new employees with more statistics-oriented backgrounds.

To be sure, while some previous finance roles are harder to find at smaller and midsize companies, the biggest companies often use consolidated centers in the U.S. to make it easier for employees to move through their careers.

AT&T Inc. T -1.39%CFO John Stephens said his company’s six such centers provide frequent opportunities for employees to change roles, because so many functions are housed under one roof.

Some big companies, including AT&T, General Electric Co. GE -0.72%and PepsiCo Inc., PEP -0.20%do their own in-house financial training and education, often operating their own “universities” to help ensure their finance teams get the experience and exposure they need.