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What is an eCFO?

My PhD dissertation contemplates a best-fit, professionally-qualified financial manager for meeting the financial management needs of high-growth, venture-backed, entrepreneurial ventures. I called such a person an entrepreneurially-minded CFO or 'eCFO'. Distinguishing attributes of an eCFO were generated from Canadian VCs’ responses to a specific a research question, interpreted through a financial management lens. Their suggestions were organized into categories of relevance based on the review of three bodies of literature. The categories are Person-Environment fit, incremental financial management competencies (i.e. functional KSAs), interpersonal & relationship management skills, and personal attributes. The issue of role duality was excluded because it is not incremental to the notion of an eCFO since it exists for all levels of financial management.

Key distinguishing attributes identified include:

Person-Environment Fit -
1. Tolerance for risk, uncertainty, and ambiguity;

Incremental (high-level) Financial Management Competencies -
2. Maintaining liquidity (see also article 1V4.2022);
3. Financial agility / flexibility;
4. Raising external financial capital (other than from VCs);
5. Financial management of significant, rapid growth;

Interpersonal & Relationship Management Skills -
6. Person-Person fit with the particular entrepreneur-leader/CEO;
7. Managing the role/relationship with the entrepreneur-leader/CEO as a supporting actor;

Personal Attributes -
8. Possessing an operational orientation;
9. Being multi-functional and hands-on;
10. Being self-directed;

Bonus/Optional -
11. Develops the capability to be a back-up CEO;
12. Has double-loop communication skills.

For more details on each attribute, please download the full article.

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