Beyond Business: This is finance, not romance

Never underestimate the need for financial acumen in the boardroom

When you reach a certain level in an organisation, you need to have your basic financial understanding locked down.

Finance is the backbone of every company, and without a solid understanding of this area you will at some point hit your head against the ceiling and have a hard time getting access to the
boardroom.

The rest is romance
My old professor, George G C Parker from Stanford Business School, once said as an introduction to his class: “I teach finance – all the rest teach romance.”

This is of course not entirely true, but it comes pretty close, and hidden beneath this truism lies the fact that financial understanding is key to unlocking the door to the
boardroom.

Need a financial foundation
Some months ago, another Stanford professor, F Daniel Siciliano, visited CBS Executive to teach on our ‘Board of Directors’ program. This program focuses primarily on behavioural economics and how to optimise the interaction between the C-suite and boardroom.

Without understanding the financial aspects of a company, you have no role in the boardroom, or C-suite for that matter. Strategy, for example, is pointless unless it is derived from a solid financial foundation. It requires that each and every board member and employee in the management team know how to read, digest and use financial statements proactively.

Catapult your career 
Acknowledging this is the key to catapulting your career forward and moving from the C-suite to the boardroom. At CBS Executive we take pride in guiding business leaders to become better leaders by giving them access to world-class professors from top US business schools, such as Columbia Business School and Stanford.

In March we have Professor John R Percival from the Wharton School teaching the basics of finance for non-financial executives. This program gives the romantics in the C-suite and boardrooms a chance to learn about the financial aspects of running a company.

To reach the top in business, you need to have a romance with finance!