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CFO Corner: Nick Araco, A “Connector” for Accounting and Finance Professionals

Libby Sharman
July 7, 2011
Read Time: 0 min

1. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? Having had the opportunity to work closely with the 2,000+ CFO Alliance Members and Partners over the past 12 months, I can say with confidence that finance leaders are frustrated by what they are hearing – or not hearing – out of Washington about economic recovery in the U.S.  The resulting lack of confidence in where the country’s economy, jobs, and capital markets are headed is certainly impacting critical investments in corporate growth activities, such as hiring, M&A and R&D, that are sorely needed for a true ‘recovery’ to occur. Our CFO Alliance Members are attempting to overcome these obstacles by creating and leveraging focused and effective peer networks that they can use to both collaborate and validate their decision-making in order to create a healthy and inviting business climate for economic renewal and growth.

2. What has made your company stand out and be successful financially? Over the past 12 months, CFO Alliance Members have shared countless examples of their responses to the challenges they have faced.  Most often cited are examples of the quantifiable and impactful investments they are making to retain and develop their top talent within their companies.  There is a shared concern that if they do not demonstrate real and ongoing support for key employees, if and when conditions within the job market improve, they are at risk to lose their greatest asset – their people.

3. What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your position? Through ongoing discussions with our CFO Alliance Members and Partners, I have learned that CFOs have an opportunity to truly lead their companies through this time of recovery and renewal.  Although CFOs currently find themselves in a business climate that makes it tough to for them to make aggressive, long-term investments, they can shape corporate strategy and impact decision-making in a meaningful way given the increasing visibility and scope of their role (both internally and externally).

4. How do you prepare for board meetings and what information is most important for you to present? In the past year, we have facilitated a number of CFO Alliance roundtable meetings surrounding the topic: ‘The CFO in the Boardroom.’  During those roundtables, it was made apparent that our CFO Alliance Members believe in being armed with data and analysis that is timely, relevant, and easy to understand. Data and analysis that is presented in a way that accurately reflects performance by, and is easily understood by, all facets of their companies, for instance Operations, Sales & Marketing, or Technology is key.

5. What advice do you have for other CFOs? Our CFO Alliance Board Members say it best:  As a finance leader, you have to invest in surrounding yourself with a qualified network that can offer you the experience, knowledge, and collective wisdom of peers, subject matter experts, and academic authorities to enable you to be more effective and act with greater confidence throughout your career. By fostering relationships with those with common objectives, interests, opportunities, and challenges, you are then able to work faster and smarter, leading your organization during times of challenge and transition to drive performance and results. 

Nick A. Araco, Jr. Esq is the co-founder, president and chief executive officer of The CFO Alliance and AchieveNext, the principal community for finance leaders that gathers a diverse population of CFOs and finance executives for ongoing roundtable discussions that fuel, debate and dissect critical issues that CFOs are currently facing. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is considered one of the region’s most prominent business, career and life ‘Connectors’ for accounting and finance professionals. Recently named one of the region’s ’40 Under 40,’ Nick has spent over 15 years cultivating and educating his ever-growing network. For more information, please visit or and follow The CFO Alliance Community on twitter @theCFOAlliance.

About the Author

Libby Sharman

Libby Sharman is a Vice President of Marketing at Abrigo.

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