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Women in the finance department – A curiosity?

With two women within the first five places on the first ‘Best CFO list’ of The Wall Street Journal great gender diversity within America’s best chief financial officers 2012 is shown. Especially in the finance area, which is more a typical male domain – at least at higher management levels, this is great news! But still it seems that there is a way to go when having a look at the overall ranking: Six females amongst 25 CFOs in the ranking. But to see excellent women like Carol Tomé and Karen Hoguet in financial lighthouse positions will definitely encourage young women to strive for a career in finance although it is still a male dominated area.


Interestingly – when having a brief look at the CV’s of the ranked CFOs – it becomes clear that there seems to be no need for straight, only finance-related career paths. Being a modern CFO requires a different set of skills nowadays compared to several years ago. Taking a leading role in setting the strategy of the company is what is expected from the ‘CFO 2.0’. One of the reasons for this rethinking could be the global financial crisis which showed that it is important to see the big picture and to link finance strongly to the overall strategy. A career in finance makes a CFO technically qualified, but positions outside of finance are giving a broadened view as well as the chance to get to know the company in more detail. The insight that new skills are needed could pave the way for more women in the financial departments of the companies as female employees often score higher in soft skills related to a better communication and collaboration. As a mixture of different skills and experiences is important for leading good performing teams in the companies of today hopefully diversity in the finance departments will be fostered furthermore, giving talented women the chance to show their expertise and competencies.

For more information about the best CFOs 2012 watch this video (click here).

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