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CFO Personal Attributes

Personal attributes or characteristics of all management team members may impact the social interaction processes, acting through conflict and cohesion/teamliness, which impact team effectiveness. These characteristics my be ascribed (e.g. demographic), developed (e.g. psychographic, such as values, beliefs, attitudes, personality), achieved (e.g. education), or behavioural. Required and desirable personal characteristics of entrepreneur-leaders and qualified financial managers were explored through interviews with Canadian VCs during my PhD research and are summarized in my dissertation. Therefore, this article seeks to understand what has been explored in the literature as a basis for comparison.

VCs' desirable functional and social attributes for CFOs include: (i) developing & maintaining an effective working relationship with the entrepreneur-leader/CEO; (ii) developing & maintaining effective working relationships with other management team members and the Board; (iii) effective cash management capabilities, including adaptability/flexibility; (iv) a future orientation that understands the path of progress and milestone checkpoints and how to achieve them; (v) in control of information that can be shared with a range of stakeholders to encourage their continued commitment to the enterprise; and, (vi) a personal network of allies that can assist the enterprise.

However, achieving these aims is not as easy as completing a checklist. As other articles in my 3-series and 4-series have indicated, achieving effective working relationships requires both an understanding of and capability to manage various social integration processes due to differences in personalities, traits, and other personal characteristics which frequently differ between financial managers and other management team members (often because of significant differences in career paths that lead to differences in cognition & thinking models). Also, it is important to recognize that managing and leveraging such typical differences can be significantly beneficial to enterprise and investment performance because the differences are often complementary in their organizational benefits. Realizing such complementarity contributes to the entrepreneur-leader and CFO achieving "Dynamic Duo" effectiveness.

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