PODCAST: How tactical CFOs achieve success

Written on May 01, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Your organization relies on its leadership to see the big picture, but without a tactical mindset from the CFO, a well-intentioned strategy can easily be forgotten.

“The tactical CFO is the person that is going to get the job done,” Richard Karwic said. “This person understands that connection between strategy and implementation.”

Karwic is a management consultant with more than 40 years of financial and managerial experience and more than 15 years of experience as CFO for businesses in a variety of industries. He joined The State of Business podcast to discuss how to be a tactical CFO, increasing efficiency in teams and keeping up with changing technology.

“I'd like to think a really good CFO can explain to a sixth grader what the mission of their organization is and what the values and principles are,” said Karwic, who will also present at the Strategic Finance and Accounting Summit. “And then, of course, from a tactical point of view, have the plan and all the projects in place that will execute and make it happen.”

He noted how the role has expanded in recent years and the days of CFOs being strictly responsible for the financials are long gone. Now they are expected to work across departments to accomplish tasks at an operational level.

The operational perspective is one that Kyle Bickhart, CPA, can appreciate. Bickhart started at OSCPA as the CFO and has since taken on the role of Chief Operating Officer. He also joined the podcast to discuss what he’s learned from his time as CFO and how that’s translated into his role now.

“It's about putting a pathway to execute a strategy,” he said. “I think a lot of organizations have done a great job of putting together that fancy PowerPoint presentation and everyone nods their heads. But it can't just be a presentation. It's really about what are the tactics to actually execute it?”

When it comes to using the tactical mindset to understand the difference between short and long-term strategy goals, Bickhart used the example of designing the foundation of a home before the kitchen. The kitchen might be more exciting and appealing to focus on, but without a strong foundation, it won’t matter. Similarly, a short-term strategy in four months might sound exciting and doable but if it doesn’t fit into the larger three-strategy, then it doesn’t make sense to focus on.

“Your strategy can change and the tactics to accomplish that strategy can also change, but you have to have a roadmap of what you want to do,” Bickhart said. “And as you learn through the process, there might be other barriers you can control or can't control. And then focus on how you can maneuver through that.”

Listen to the podcast episode to hear more and register for Strategic Finance and Accounting Summit.

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