10 Resources to Inspire Your Finance Career Path

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Office of Finance is evolving, and Finance professionals need to evolve to keep pace.

Okay, I’m sure you’ve heard it, and I’ll stop myself. We all know that continuing professional development is crucial to accelerating your Finance career.

We can also admit that committing to professional development is easier said than done. Odds are you have plenty to do for your existing job, without taking on training for the next stage of your career.

With that in mind, we developed the Finance Career Acceleration Center, a hub for quick-but-valuable expert advice. Check it out to find out what skills an aspiring CFO should develop, the secret to being promotable in your Finance Department, and more.

To further fuel your acceleration, we asked some of our favorite industry experts what inspires them to keep learning. And we asked some of our own folks for their insights, too. Here are ten resources you can use to inspire your next career move.

Follow the Lead with TED Talks

For Jennifer Warawa, EVP of Product Marketing at Sage, TED talks are a go-to source for compelling content that can inform and inspire a Finance career.

“There’s an abundance of incredibly useful media out there that can help aspiring financial professionals, and TED talks, in particular, bring out some inspiring professionals to give unique perspective,” she said.

In particular, Jennifer is a fan of Simon Sinek’s talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action because it categorizes the job responsibilities of the CFO into subject knowledge and leadership.

“All too often professionals forget how important leadership really is at the senior level but inspiring your team and making people feel valued becomes increasingly important the further you move up the corporate ladder,” she said. “Sadly, usually, our training and schooling generally focuses myopically on hard skills. Working on strategies to inspire your colleagues and team and make them feel valued is as integral a skill as any, in any senior-level leadership position.”

CFO Leadership Council President Jack McCullough also recommends TED talks, but with a twist: “Focus on communications, not finance,” he says. “Executive Presence is a game-changer for potential CFOs. I recommend 10 Ways to Have a Great Conversation, by Celeste Headlee.”

Finance Insights on the Go

If you don’t have time to watch a TED talk, you can always learn on your morning commute. Jack recommends The CFO Thought Leader podcast: “Jack Sweeney is a good host. He recognizes that his is not the star of his own show, so he gets some great CFO guests. It’s definitely worth a listen on the way to work.”

Ryan Van Hatten, Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations, Prophix, calls out the CFO Thought Leader website as an excellent source of targeted mobile content, including podcasts and ebooks. Featuring personal firsthand accounts of CFOs who are driving change within their organizations, the site can help finance professionals take the leadership leap.

“With guests from a variety of industries and company sizes, this is an excellent resource to learn from others in finance and receive advice on specific issues facing the finance profession,” Ryan said.

Books To Help You Graduate to CFO

CFO Coach Cindy Kraft has a top pick any inspiring Finance Leader looking to build a strong, successful career plan: “Guide to CFO Success” by Samuel Dergel. The book offers strategic guidance for leadership growth based on making a tangible difference within the company, achieving visibility outside the company, and forging strong relationships.

Cindy’s other must-read isn’t available just yet, but keep it on your watch list: “Jack McCullough, founder of the CFO Leadership Council, is working on a book based on his Habits of Highly Effective CFOs,” she explains. “When that is released, it will be a must-read for all aspiring CFOs.”

Getting Pumped Up with Favorite Films

To get fired up, Dawn Brolin CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC and life-long athlete, turns her eyes towards inspirational sports movies in which the underdog overcomes an obstacle and is victorious. The movie “Rudy” is at the top of her list.

“I can’t watch this movie enough times,” Dawn said. “When you have a dream, you do whatever it takes to make it come true. This true story of a boy whose own father didn’t believe he could play for Notre Dame, did. He figured out a way to get himself on that field and never quit. That is inspiration at the highest point in my opinion.”

Another film that Dawn turns to for motivation is “Hoosiers.” The movie follows the journey of a small-town basketball team which, against all odds, goes on to win the state championship.

“There is turmoil, people who challenged the coach and convinced the key player to quit and other challenging events,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, how much you make, or how you look. Even the little guys can persevere and live their dream.”

Reading Into the Changing Face of Finance

There is no question that the office of Finance is evolving. These books can help you prepare for what’s next.

One example is “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” by Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the widely celebrated book “Sapiens.”

“The book provides a glimpse into what the future could hold if we repeat the lessons from the past,” said Phil Gravel, Prophix, VP, Professional Services & Customer Success. “Harari provides an overview of some of the significant tech trends that will impact where we are headed and his thoughts around what we can do to prepare for this tech-driven future.”

Geoff Ng, Prophix SVP Product Planning & Technology adds that,“Significant changes are underway in FP&A and will only accelerate over the next few years and stand to fundamentally change how work is done and decisions are made. CFOs must prepare their organization for this new reality. Innovation requires the difficult task of challenging assumptions and decisions that led to past success and the ability to embrace the unknown.”

To aid in this preparation Geoff recommends, “Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results” from Barry O’Reilly as a highly relevant book to help transformative leaders reassess their strategies.

Find More Inspiration to Fuel Your Finance Career Path

As our experts show, inspiration can be found almost anywhere. If you’re looking for even more inspiration — and the tactical advice to put it into action — visit our Finance Career Acceleration Center.

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