How Much Industry Experience Does Your New CFO Need?

While exceptions can be made, industry experience matters more for upper-level finance hires than for other hires in an organization.

Ask any group of talent acquisition professionals how essential industry experience is when hiring senior to C-level finance talent, and you get responses ranging from “less important than financial expertise” to “a strategic advantage and priority.” Although opinions vary, we’ve seen more success in hiring for senior finance positions when candidates have relevant industry experience. And, it becomes even more crucial for upper-level roles in highly regulated industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, and hospital management. 

Unlike a mid-level accountant who can take the time to learn the business and systems, a new CFO is expected to hit the ground running and quickly ascertain how effectively the company is delivering on its business objectives. An industry-experienced CFO can quickly serve as a strategic partner to both the C-level team and non-financial areas of the business such as marketing and operations. They also have a deeper understanding of the financial position of the company relevant to the marketplace. 

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