It was either a very bad or very good year for finance executives. The game of musical CFO chairs only spun faster, hordes of investment bankers hit the streets, and the high heat was fixed on everything from securitized assets to head count. But with credit elusive and companies in turmoil, aspiring finance chiefs with capital markets or operational backgrounds found themselves in a better position to move up. Adept risk managers and internal auditors, too, saw their stock rise, as companies scrambled to ward off potential (or actual) catastrophe. Here are the editors’ choices for CFO.com’s top careers stories of 2008:
Crisis Demands New CFO Skills
Rather suddenly, companies aren’t any longer looking to make accountants into finance chiefs. In their fight for survival, they need a different breed.
Is Your Finance Job Recession-Proof?
What the looming recession may mean for job security in the tax, treasury, internal audit, and controller’s departments — as well as for CFOs themselves.
Meltdown Means Opportunity for Risk Managers
An often-misunderstood category of finance worker, which already was showing a rising profile, may now be in line for a quantum leap.
Internal Audit Comes of Age
No longer a second-rate career move, taking an audit post can serve as a springboard to almost any finance role, including CFO.
Where Will All the Bankers Go?
With Wall Street imploding, swelling hordes of displaced financial-services workers face corporate disinterest and a bleak employment outlook.
Why Is CFO Turnover So High?
With the job getting tougher, one in four Fortune 1,000 companies bid adieu to its finance leader in 2007 alone.
An Anatomy of a CFO’s Agony
How a make-the-numbers mandate, threats from his bosses, and accounting skullduggery nearly destroyed him.
The Rap on Accounting Education
Are colleges focused too much on preparing students for public accounting and not enough for their later corporate careers?
Wal-Mart’s Michael Fung: Why Internal Auditors Make Good CFOs
To really know what drives value for a company and understand its business processes, Fung says, there may be no better training ground than internal audit.
Nine Things to Ask Your Future Boss, the CEO
Since knowledge is power, know all you can about your prospective superior’s habits, history, likes, and dislikes.
What You Don’t Know about Headhunters: 10 Tips
Understanding what makes recruiters tick is a vital but often overlooked component of the job hunt. In a shaky economy, it may be more crucial than ever.
Rare Career Path: CPA, JD, CFO
How an accountant’s detour through law school led him to a dream job in finance.
The Double-Edged Sword of Head Count Cuts
Companies contemplating layoffs must consider a variety of issues, not all of which fit into a spreadsheet.
Global Know-how: The Career Imperative
If you’re American, it’s relatively easy to get overseas finance experience. If you’re not, landing a finance gig in the United States can be tough. But either way, if you want to be a CFO, working abroad is an essential step.
How to Be a Freelance CFO: 10 Tips
What to do, what not to do, and how to think if you want to work for yourself.
Baby Boomer Brain Drain Looms
More companies are hatching plans to compensate for the impending crush of retirements by senior executives. Will they be able to put a dent in a potentially ruinous problem?
Say What? The Battle over Executive Comp
Big investors and compensation consultants, both with much to gain and lose, dig in and defend their ground over “Say on Pay.”