This is an excerpt from In Business PHX March Edition. For the full article, please visit: It’s Lonely at the Top: Empowering CEOs to Be Their Best – Greater Phoenix In Business Magazine (

CEOs should focus their attention on two critical aspects that often go overlooked but can significantly impact their effectiveness and the well-being of their organization.

First, CEOs should prioritize their organization’s financial “story.” This includes a thorough understanding of the Current and Forecasted Cash Position. CEOs should not only be aware of the numbers but also delve into the what, why and how behind the financials. Utilizing a data-driven decision-making approach is imperative, as it empowers CEOs to make informed decisions based on a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s financial health. CEOs who are confident in the organization’s numbers and comprehends the intricacies of financial data can navigate uncertainties more effectively, fostering a sense of confidence that extends into their personal well-being (e.g., they can sleep better at night).

Second, CEOs must ensure that their organization has strong internal controls. Often, CEOs find themselves distanced from day-to-day financial operations, making it vital to establish proper checks and balances. A key component of internal controls is the segregation of duties. CEOs must avoid relying upon a single individual to manage all financial responsibilities. This could look like having one staff member handling bookkeeping, cash deposits, reconciliation and reporting. This situation could result in errors, fraud or other discrepancies. Implementing a system that divides these tasks ensures transparency and accountability and reduces risk. By prioritizing internal controls, CEOs not only safeguard the organization’s financial integrity but also create a framework that promotes trust and reliability within the company’s operations.

Through prioritization of their financial story and internal controls, CEOs can foster both personal and professional success. Following are strategies to accomplish this:

  • CEOs should communicate often with their finance department head (CFO, director of finance, controller, etc.). Consistent conversations regarding plans for the business and its current financial status will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Ensure that the right person is in charge. The head of the organization’s finance department should be a trusted advisor who can adjust systems, processes and reporting to meet changing needs. It is imperative that business leaders have timely and accurate financial information to make effective business decisions. A good finance lead will dream with the CEO, listen to the CEOs vision, and then develop a plan to discuss what they may need to ensure the company never loses sight of the financial position amid change. I recommend investing in the finance department systems to streamline processes and help facilitate timely financial reporting in an ever-changing business environment.

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