Top 20 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Interview Questions & Answers


If you have a great passion for finance and analysing a company’s forecast, a chief financial officer may be one of the jobs that are suitable for you. This article provides 20 interview questions and answers that could be used when interviewing for Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position.

1.    Why Are You Interested In This Role?

State why you are interested to apply for the job there.

Tip #1: State why you are interested in the job or company

Tip #2: Provide instances of opportunities that you hope to gain

Sample Answer:

I love working on finances. I believe working as part of your company could further develop my profession in the long term as I could apply all the skills I have learned. That aside, I am equally anticipating to learn more about all sorts of knowledge and skills revolving around this position.

2.    What Makes You Qualified For This Job?

Candidates are expected to answer why they are the best candidate that should be hired

Tip #1: Prepare well before going to the interview

Tip #2: Check what are the expected skills and qualities needed for the offer

Sample Answer:

I am a strategy-driven person who always envisions financial success in a company. As an organized person, I am very particular about my time as well as financial management. There were times where my group was forced to catch up with a nearing deadline. With effective task delegation, I managed to motivate my team members to fulfil the jobs. I possess good decision-making and problem-solving skills as well which is very crucial for a CFO.

3.    What Are The Job Scopes Of A Chief Financial Officer?

Interviewers want to know if candidates are well aware of the position.

Tip #1: State the roles of a chief financial officer

Tip #2: Be concise and confident

Sample Answer:

The chief financial officer is responsible to be the lead figure in managing a company’s financial actions. Some of the roles of a CFO is to monitor cash flow as well as doing financial planning for the company. Besides, CFO has to constantly monitor the financial forecast and metrics so that they could bring the best financial profit and stability. The other task of a CFO is to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of a company’s finance to propose actions.

4.    Can You Handle Conflict In Your Group?

Interviewers want to know about candidate’s conflict management skills, especially in group works.

Tip #1: State what you would do if group conflict happens

Tip #2: Be straight to the point and avoid mulling your answers

Sample Answer:

Once, two of my team members were involved in a misunderstanding. The tension emitted by the two was unbearable for other members so I felt obliged to resolve the conflict. I searched for the root of the conflict and talked to both sides. I managed to mediate both of them to overcome their differences and all of us managed to finish the task well.

5.    Do You Have Any Experience With Strategy Development?

The interviewers want to know candidates’ experience with technical tasks.

Tip #1: State some of the experiences you had related to strategy development

Tip #2: Provide a concise but meaningful answer

Sample Answer:

I have experience in building a financial strategy in my previous workplace. The strategy I worked on was targeted for three to five years and included several fundamental components. These include the desired funding mix, level of funding, and the general reserves level. Before that, we performed a process of reviewing the current standing of the company to come up with several opportunities and resources available.

6.    Share With Us Your Previous Experience Related To The CFO Position

Candidates are expected to share their experience in working as CFO or any related tasks.

Tip #1: State a few duties you have done

Tip #2: Mention how you felt and the impact they have done

Sample Answer:

I have experience in allocating funds in my previous workplace. By looking at the data obtained from the company’s financial performance, I was able to come up with a plan to raise the funds properly. It was my first job as a CFO and I learned to manage various roles including budgeting, risk management, accounting, analysis, and so forth.

7.    As A CFO, How Do You Determine The Profitability Of An Investment?

This question revolves around your knowledge as a CFO and the right way to perform a task effectively.

Tip #1: Explain one way to determine profitability

Tip #2: Be brief but accurate

Sample Answer:

I will first observe the trends to measure viability. The most common way to measure profitability is by using Return on Investment (ROI) which is by dividing net profit by total assets. Using ROI is beneficial as it provides a comparative analysis and serves as the indicator of other performance ingredients as well.

8.    What Metrics You Might Monitor On A Regular Basis?

This question requires candidates to be well aware of measurements and metrics to be monitored.

Tip #1: Name several metrics that ought to be monitored

Tip #2: Provide examples of monitoring measurements and metrics that you know

Sample Answer:

Some of the metrics that I commonly paid attention to are net profits and contribution margins. Besides those, I am particular about the annual revenue kept in the bank. Having a consistent sufficient amount of money saved will prevent issues from worsening and disrupt the company’s financial status.

9.    What Do You Intend To Focus On If You Are Offered This Position?

The interviewers want to see your attitude towards being in a new environment.

Tip #1: Be realistic and not too ambitious

Tip #2: Share your personal goals if you are hired

Sample Answer:

My first focus if I land this job is to get myself adapted to the new environment build here. I am well aware that different companies may have different cultures and it is crucial for me to blend in well with co-workers first. The other focus is to get myself familiar with all the methodologies and measurements utilized here. I will gradually set forth my goal for both personal and for the growth of the company.

10. What Are The Key Qualities Needed To Analyse Data And Make Financial Decisions?

The interviewers want to know candidates’ attitudes towards making decisions and analysing data.

Tip #1: State several qualities that are fundamental for CFO

Tip #2: Mention what consequences will happen if those qualities are absent

Sample Answer:

In making any decisions, it requires a high level of problem-solving skills and critical thinking as the decisions will affect the financial status of the company. Being knowledgeable in key financial fact, concepts as well as forecasting line is also crucial to foresight the future profit. The common skills needed for this task are counting, sorting, trading, and budgeting. Failure in possessing all these skills and qualities may disrupt the financial status of the company.

11. How Do You Prevent Or Minimize Risks Of Errors?

This is to see candidates’ knowledge of technical tasks.

Tip #1: State several measures to avoid errors

Tip #2: Be realistic in your answer

Sample Answer:

Regularly update the business accounting books. This may be done by cash-basis or accrual depending on the situation. Another common example of preventing errors is by utilizing finance software. Some software aids a lot in easing the tasks of employees as well as minimizing the errors done. There are some examples of software in the market that I recommend.

12. Have You Ever Experienced Failure In Your Career? What Did You Do To Address The Issue?

Nobody is perfect hence mistakes or failures are inevitable to everyone. Share one experience on failure especially related to the profession.

Tip #1: State an example of failure you had as CFO

Tip #2: Provide how did you address the issue professionally

Sample Answer:

One of the biggest failures we had previously was miscalculation. The mistake leads towards a generation of only 1 percent return on investment which is extremely low and insufficient. When we tracked the sudden downfall, we quickly took a course of action to fix the budget and return to stability. Luckily, our team kept an adequate saving for emergency purposes. Using that money, we covered the urgent costs and gradually boosted our promotion to increase sales.

13. What Are The Vital Steps In Managing Your Team?

This is to cover on candidate’s leadership skill.

Tip #1: State what are the qualities needed in a team

Tip #2: Be concise and confident

Sample Answer:

I believe when working in a team, a leader ought to create a warm culture for the members. This will encourage them to be fully motivated to work at their utmost level. In terms of performance, a leader should be clear and realistic in setting expected goals. Regularly communicate and monitor their performances to see if the expected milestones are achieved. Another thing that I like to incorporate in my team is the recognition system.

14. What Do You Think Are The Major Keys To A Successful Budget?

This is another question to test candidates’ technical knowledge in finance.

Tip #1: State some examples of key components of budget management

Tip #2: Briefly mention consequences if the components are not present

Sample Answer:

One of the key components of a successful budget is the target. It is important to set both profit and cash flow targets. It is crucial to be able to be attentive to the details retailing both measures. Lacking attention to these two may inhibit the company’s performance.

15. What Are The Accounting Platforms You Are Familiar With?

Mastery in digital software is a bonus point to your qualities. You may search for the benchmark platforms that are commonly utilized.

Tip #1: Provide a realistic number of platforms you are familiar with

Tip #2: Try not to be ambitious by providing several examples at the same time as it may sound doubtful

Sample Answer:

I am competent in using QuickBooks Accounting as they were the software taught during my study as well as used in my previous position. However, I am currently interested in a newly introduced software named Tally.

16. How Do You Handle Conflict With Stakeholders?

This is to test candidates’ conflict management skills.

Tip #1: Name some ways to address the issue

Tip #2: How to avoid the same conflict in the future

Sample Answer:

The first step is to find the root of the problem. To prevent a worse scenario, it is best to address the issue immediately. It is encouraged to involve more experienced managers to discuss the differences with the stakeholders. Strategic planning is vital to prevent the same conflict from occurring twice. For example, if the conflict revolves around the schedule, it is best to regularly monitor milestones and foresee if the deadlines could be achieved. Early notifications to the stakeholders may prevent unnecessary conflict in the future.

17. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?

Candidates should be aware of the challenges of the position.

Tip #1: State examples of challenges that may occur

Tip #2: Mention how to counter the challenge briefly

Sample Answer:

The challenges that may occur is to be able to come up with a specific competitive strategy. CFO should be able to juggle a lot of considerations at the same time. Aside from strategizing for good development for the company, they also have to be able to compete with competitors of a similar field that are now rising in number in the market.

18. Have You Ever Received Difficult Feedback? How Did You Accept The Feedback?

Interviewers want to learn about how you cope with mistakes.

Tip #1: Provide how to react in the situation

Tip #2: Be calm and professional in sharing the experience

Sample Answer:

Honestly speaking, receiving difficult feedback after working effortfully for a task is quite disheartening. However, I manage to deal with the issue professionally. I taught myself to not be prejudice and take it as a learning process to improve myself even more.

19. What Are The Major Challenges Did You Face In Your Previous Position?

Interviewers want to know your experience in the field.

Tip #1: Provide a professional example of your experience

Tip #2: Share how did you overcome the challenge

Sample Answer:

One of the biggest challenges I had in my previous position was to decide on a new stakeholder. During my time, our company decided to terminate the contract with one of the vendors. It was a new experience for me to analyse and choose the right supplier to be able to align with our company’s expectations. There were multiple prospective vendors. I managed to fully apply my analysis skills to see which vendor is the best fitting for our company at that time.

20. What Would You Do To Address The Decrease In Revenue Forecasts?

A CFO should be able to minimize any loss from occurring.

Tip #1: Do homework before going to interview

Tip #2: Be logical in your measures proposed

Sample Answer:

I will review the current forecasting framework applied. Some issues may lie in the use of unfit methodology hence changes ought to be done. One of the ways to address this issue by being more rigorous towards forecasting by enhancing communication and planning tools. It is also crucial to focus on tweaking the right level of detail, especially the sole divergent in the forecast line.

That concludes the list of interview questions and answers. If you are planning to apply as a chief financial officer, this article may provide you the gist of what questions usually asked in interviews.

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