10 must-reads for health system CFOs and finance executives


The CFO role has gained increased attention lately, as the demands, pressures and expectations for those who fill the position evolve.

Here are 10 articles previously published on Becker's Hospital Review that offer interesting insight on how the CFO role is changing, recruitment strategies and team building.

1. Why accounting chiefs rarely make the leap to CFO
Few chief accounting officers and controllers are promoted to fill the role of the CFO. This may be because those who fill the two aforementioned finance positions may lack the necessary operational and leadership skills.

2. How to make the leap from CFO to CEO
For healthcare CFOs interested in taking on the CEO role, the key is strategic thinking. Karan Rai, president of ADS Tactical, a logistics provider and specialty distributor to the Department of Defense, was promoted from CFO to become the company's president in March. Although outside of the healthcare industry Mr. Rai's thoughts on how finance executives can develop a strategic mindset and the forward-thinking mentality to become CEO can apply to healthcare CFOs. "I always took the initiative to engage with my clients on a pretty strategic level," Mr. Rai told The Wall Street Journal. "It's not just to say hey, we're doing this deal, but what are you trying to get done in the next five years?"

3. CFOs taking on IT roles: Is this trend headed for healthcare?
CFOs have become more heavily involved in parts of the business outside of finance, including health IT. Although filling the CFO and CIO positions has traditionally taken two individuals, some companies are beginning to combine them into one. 

4. Why CFO roles are being filled by Gen Xers
More focus on innovative and strategic thinking has led to CFO roles being filled by younger individuals. Younger baby boomers and Gen Xers bring a different management style than some of their older colleagues, and that style is attractive to companies that need innovative finance executives.

5. What's causing the rise of the corporate CFO?
The CFO position is becoming increasingly valuable to companies across different industries, according to a Washington Post report. The rise in the position has not only called for more candidates, but it has also led to an increase in compensation. Raises for CFOs outpaced those of CEOs in 2014, growing 13.9 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

6. 4 ways to position your organization to recruit nontraditional executives
As healthcare transitions from a mostly provider-controlled industry to a consumer-driven one, more hospitals are looking to recruit executives from outside fields. These organizations recognize that skills used in other industries — such as banking, entertainment, marketing and consulting — can easily apply to healthcare.

7. 3 tips for building a solid leadership team
Leaders need a network of teams to run a successful enterprise, but the first and most essential team every chief must build is his or her own leadership team. Kerry Healey, president of Babson College in Babson Park, Mass., wrote in Fortune every leader needs a strong support system to provide him or her with a variety of perspectives and help identify opportunities. She proposes three tips for building a better team: identify your weaknesses; value each team member's diverse skill sets, experiences and perspectives; and provide clear standards and expectations.

8. Why CFOs are avoiding social media
Only 18 percent of CFOs prefer to use social media to keep in contact with professional colleagues, while the majority prefer to use email for this type of correspondence, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cites a report by Robert Half Management Resources. That is a drastic change from 2012, when 45 percent of finance chiefs said social media was their top choice for staying in touch with colleagues, and only 22 percent said they preferred using email for networking.

9. 20 pieces of advice from hospital CFOs
Financial leaders from hospitals and health systems across the nation share their advice for dealing with a variety of issues, from changing reimbursement levels to the evolving CFO role to forming new partnerships.

10. CFO roundtable: The strategic CFO's role in cyber security, population health and transitioning to value-based pay
In this roundtable, Michael Allen, CFO of Gundersen Health System (La Crosse, Wis.), Daniel Morissette, CFO of Stanford Health Care (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Karen Testman, RN, CFO of MemorialCare Health System (Fountain Valley, Calif.) discuss the essential skills a strategic CFO should possess, the CFO's role in data breach prevention and population health management efforts, challenges their systems face in the transition to value-based reimbursement, and how they stay motivated and enthusiastic about their jobs.

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