Singaporean CFOs Are Ambitious to Progress Further in Their Career

Despite reaching the pinnacle of their career in finance, Singaporean Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are ambitious to progress further and are very conscious about their career development.

According to an independent survey by specialist recruiter Robert Half, the majority of Singaporean CFOs are determined to remain within the finance remit when asked about the next step in their career.

Almost one in three (32 per cent) CFOs want to expand their role within their current organization as part of their next career move, while more than one in four (26 per cent) are ambitious to move to the CFO position of a larger organization. Only 12 per cent of Singaporean finance leaders have aspirations to move to head of a business division other than finance.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director at Robert Half Singapore said: “Many CFOs see their next career move to be an expansion of their finance role, whether it is with their current company or a larger organization. This is particularly true for CFOs based in Singapore due to the city being a regional financial hub with many large multinational companies.”

“We are seeing a buoyant market for CFOs in Singapore, so it is to be expected that in order for CFOs to advance in their careers they are willing to pursue opportunities in other companies. Larger organizations would generally allow ambitious CFOs to expand upon their responsibilities and management capabilities by overseeing a larger department and finance team.”

Less than one in 10 (9 per cent) see their next career move as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or President – rising from 6 per cent of CFOs in small organizations to 12 per cent of CFOs working for large organizations, thereby indicating more CFOs in larger organizations [1] are aiming for the CEO role compared to finance leaders in SMEs.

"Today’s CFO is no longer skilled in just finance, but is considered a genuine and strategic business partner able to make a significant contribution to the business’s agenda, which emphasizes the increased influence the finance function has over any organization. The expanding role of the CFO indicates that they already possess the necessary skills and expertise needed to lead an organization and ascend to the role of CEO,”  Imbert-Bouchard added.

In terms of the essential steps required in achieving the next stage in their career, more than half (57 per cent) of Singaporean CFOs believe international career experience is crucial to broadening their skillset. This is followed by 56 per cent who see gaining broader experience within their current organization is key to achieve the next stage in their career and 52 per cent believe managing a major project or change program is their top priority to move forward.

“Finance leaders are ambitious and at the same time acutely aware of what they need to do to further develop their careers and showcase their capabilities – whether it’s moving to a larger organization or expanding their current finance role.”

“It’s important for Singaporean CFOs to keep in mind how their expanding remit will directly influence the future of their career. Project transformation, business acumen and the increasing importance of IT skills and knowledge are certainly factors that will help CFOs gain a solid footing in the next stage of their career,”  Imbert-Bouchard concluded.


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