Executive Voices: ‘Great CFOs embody the value of their organizations’

We’ve all seen them, and many of us have been lucky enough to work directly with them – great CFOs.

They are motivated by the future, committed to delivering in the present, and hold a healthy respect for the lessons of the past. They champion clear, measurable long-term goals and drive practical short term prioritization. They build and sustain a strong team with diverse talents, and in doing so, they accelerate the momentum of the organization. They bring a talent for balance and objectivity to the table, and they model the process of growth in harmony with the overarching mission.

At the National Restaurant Association and within our Educational Foundation, we have defined organizational values. Several are fundamental to success, and critical to building and sustaining a strong culture, anywhere: integrity, trust, respect, excellence. Given the focus of our industry, our values also include optimism and the spirit of hospitality – two entrepreneurial and vital elements for our industry’s and organization’s success.

Our chief administrative and financial officer, Marvin Irby, was feted earlier this month as the 2013 Nonprofit CFO of the Year. With his leadership, we have achieved several successive years of growth, while also ensuring long-term stability during a period of national economic unease. For a great CFO like Marvin, growth results from achieving strategic goals through the wise application of resources, and through the serving the mission in the most efficient and energizing way.

Great CFOs embody the values of their organizations and they align with their CEOs so that there is “no light between them.” Revenue growth and expense management aren’t their endgame; it’s an element of strategy to advance to a more successful future.

Sweeney is CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Washington, www.restaurant.org.

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