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Unless you have lived a very blessed HR life, you have, from time to time, had difficulties dealing with your CFO.  Is it just that CFOs are mean and nasty people?  Perhaps, but have you ever thought that there might be legitimate reasons that HR does not always get along with their CFO?

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The CFO has to answer to not only their CEO, but to the organization’s Board of Directors, Investors, and Stock Market Analysts.  A CFO has no room for error when representing the financials of the organization.  On this week’s podcast, Kelly and I discuss how HR can better work with their CFO, with our guest, Dr. Kimberly Whitehead, who served as a CFO for Newell Brands, prior to going into academia.

According to Dr. Whitehead, most HR professionals she has worked with do not understand the business, or basic financial principles.  Often, when advocating for programs the HR department has no real idea the costs or the return on the investment (ROI) of those programs.  An estimate by HR on the costs and ROI of an HR proposal is simply not going to cut it with any CFO.

So, should HR professionals just resolve that their CFO will never like them?  No!  Be proactive. If you are working on an HR program, get the Finance Department involved early on in the discussions, so they can help you in the financial analysis.  If you don’t feel comfortable in the area of finance, ask if there is someone in the Finance Department that will help you better understand things like the budget, balance sheet, income statement, forecasting, insurance costing, bonus and long term incentive planning and costs, to name a few. If no one is willing to help you within the organization, take a class, or just research “understanding finance”, or similar terms on the internet for some free help.  HR and the CFO can be great allies, with just a few modifications in approach and a little relationship building.

As always, Kelly and I appreciate you listening to Survive HR.  Please tell your friends about the show and please go on iTunes and rate us.