Is a seat in the C-suite the final phase of a successful career? Not necessarily, according to a new survey of CFOs. Nearly nine in 10 financial executives in Canada reported they think a career in consulting attractive to senior-level accounting and finance executives; of those, 35 per cent find it very attractive, and 55 per cent consider it at least somewhat attractive.
For 26 per cent of respondents who consider consulting an attractive option, the most appealing aspect is the variety and challenge of the work. About two in 10 CFOs report a flexible schedule (24 per cent) and attractive compensation (18 per cent) are the biggest draws.
"Consulting careers offer experienced finance professionals exposure to a wider variety of organizations, industries and projects ― and in turn, companies gain the specialized interim expertise they seek to drive new change-management initiatives, or adapt to shifting regulatory needs," said David King, senior district president of Robert Half Management Resources. "Senior-level finance professionals have many years of experience helping businesses realize their financial goals, making them ideal resources to provide strategic advice and counsel."
Added King, "Consulting allows experienced finance professionals a refreshing change of pace and greater flexibility, while still advancing their career through new projects and challenges."
What attributes do consultants need? Five key traits:
• Adaptability — Consultants must be comfortable acclimating to new people, processes and technologies as they move from one assignment to another.
• Change management — Consultants often need to support teams during times of transition. Offering insights based on past experiences can help firms navigate new territory.
• Drive and enthusiasm — Companies rely on consultants to take initiative and help carry a project through to completion — and motivate staff and stakeholders along the way.
• Soft skills — Consultants must be able to effectively communicate information and ideas, align diverse viewpoints, and collaborate with colleagues across the organization.
• Technical expertise — Firms seek professionals who possess the subject matter knowledge and systems proficiency to parachute into a situation and hit the ground running.