Arnold Partners in the news

CFO Press

Finance Leaders Tell Their Reset Stories

Many executives step away from employment to focus on their health and wellness while taking stock of their careers. Here’s how three of them did it.

David Arnold, president of Arnold Partners LLC, a CFO and director search firm, recommends keeping future job opportunities in mind when considering an extended leave. Departing with a specific goal in mind is key — caring for a loved one, accomplishing a personal goal, or volunteering are among the valid reasons for a break.

He advises against using time away from a leadership position for long-term consulting, though. “If you are a CFO and consult for more than six months, employers will tend to think you were looking for a job during that period and couldn’t find one,” he said. That perception might not be fair or accurate, but it’s one you could face regardless.

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Back in the day, the old axiom of purchasing computer technology was that a CEO and Board could not get fired for hiring IBM. The parallel in executive search was that you could not get fired if you go with one of the major international firms, aka Shrek (Spencer, Heidrick, Russell, Egon, Korn). The reality of today is that IBM is not IBM anymore; technology purchases are spread far and wide, including some very nimble start-ups that compete with the 800-pound gorillas of the tech sector. The reality in executive search is that small may not only be an option, it can be the best option no matter the size of your company. And embracing technology on behalf of tech clients is a key success factor.

Two major forces have changed the landscape of search

The obvious one is LinkedIn, which connects the business world and every working professional like never before. One of the most prevalent claims by Shrek was the unique and proprietary databases that enabled them to uncover passive talent through the use of mysterious, behind-the-curtain registries.

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7 Core Skills of Great CFOs

As COVID-19 has shifted from a pandemic to an endemic, CFOs are also transitioning — from a reacting-to-crisis mode to one that is strategic and more forward-looking.

Finance chiefs are still dealing with COVID-era challenges that include remote workforces, persistent inflation, supply chain snarls, and “the great resignation” that has created talent shortages. But they’re also prioritizing projects that will move their companies forward.

While those priorities don’t override the value of corporate finance basics, they do increasingly require additional skills that weren’t in the CFO job description even five years ago. We’ve identified seven skills that top CFOs need to master in today’s evolving business climate.

1. Solid Communicator

It’s not enough to be able to present financial performance reports to the board and investors effectively. CFOs are called upon to tell the story behind the numbers to a wider range of stakeholders, including customers and employees.

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The CFO Corner:

Dave Arnold, Arnold Partners LLC

How has technology made the CFO role more complicated? What are the different types of CFOs? How has COVID-19 changed corporate finance and accounting forever?

Now, these questions have been answered.

Get the vantage point of a top-tier CFO recruiter.  In this video, Dave Arnold discusses the qualities of the best CFOs. Additionally, he describes how to build great finance teams.  Finally, Dave explores the challenges of accounting and finance during a pandemic.

Link to Auditoria W-9 Data Verification AI Finance automation.


The Resume is Alive and Kicking in 2022. Here’s Why.

The resume is dead.

At least that was the case, according to this 2018 article titled The Resume Is Dead. Here’s What Innovative Companies (Including Tesla) Are Using to Hire Instead.

The solution? Algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), the article said. Tesla, Accenture, LinkedIn—they’re all tossing resumes and having candidates complete brain tasks like quizzes or puzzles instead. The AI then measures a person’s ability to multitask, indicates problem-solving skills, and even shows altruism levels.

This 2017 LinkedIn post titled, The Resume Is Dead: Here’s What To Focus On Instead, says, “it’s time to stop hiring people based on what they say they can do. You should be hiring doers, not tellers. Moving beyond the resume is a critical first step in doing so.”

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CFO Job-Hopping: How Much Is Too Much?

While executive recruiter David Arnold and the CEO of a high-profile Silicon Valley company were discussing the company’s CFO search, the CEO told Arnold, “If you send me someone who has had a lot of short stops, I’ll be skeptical.” That was a red flag and her “number one pet peeve,” says Arnold, president of Arnold Partners, LLC.

Too short a tenure at too many organizations — job-hopping — brings career risks like the concern cited by Arnold’s client. But how do you define how much is too much movement? And are the downsides significant?

The answer on how much is too much is subjective and can vary from industry to industry. Organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry reports the average CFO tenure is 4.7 years, while the most recent Crist|Kolder Associates Volatility Report sets it slightly higher, at 4.86 years. According to the Korn Ferry analysis, the information technology industry has the shortest CFO tenure at 4.1 years, while the industrial segment has the longest, at five.

So is any tenure shorter than that job-hopping? Drew Keith, executive vice president and CFO of Dallas-based Texas Security Bank, sees three years as the minimum to stay in a job if the CFO is in the middle of their career. For someone having just moved up to a CFO role, the minimum might be longer, four to five years.

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Steps CFOs take to get appointed to corporate boards

One of the very best ways to network is to get a meeting with your CEO and ask him or her to introduce you to two or more CEOs they know, said veteran board and CFO recruiter David Arnold. “It takes time, but it is effective,” he said…

A seat on a board at another company can help you do your day job better, Arnold said.

He explained it can give you insights into best practices you may not be aware of from anything from governance to systems to operational metrics.

But the main thing you should know about joining a board, said the recruiter, is not to get your hopes up.

“Every CFO I meet wants to go on a board but very few are selected,” said Arnold.

He added he rarely hears complaints from CFOs he’s recruited to boards after they have been there awhile.

The biggest drawback, he noted, has been when boards are static — that is, when they are not being listened to by management.

Arnold said an effective way to uncover board culture is to look at the minutes, which will show if it has good, healthy debates around critical issues or is merely rubber stamping the chairman’s wishes.

“You can start to see patterns,” the recruiter said.

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San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust is an Invitation-Only Community for Top Business Decision Makers in the Bay Area

LOS GATOS, Calif., Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Dave Arnold, president of Arnold Partners, LLC, has been invited to join San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust, an exclusive community for influential business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.

Arnold was chosen for membership by the San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust Selection Committee due to his experience, leadership and influence in the regional business landscape and beyond. As the leading independent CFO search firm for technology and life science companies nationwide, Arnold Partners’ placements have resulted in the creation of over $15B in value in the last nine years. Arnold is a recognized source on CFO and tech issues in leading national business media.

“The Bay Area’s thriving business community is powered by leaders like Dave,” said Mary Huss, publisher of the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. “We’re honored to be creating a space where the region’s business influencers come together to further increase their impact on the community and beyond, build their businesses and connect with and strengthen one another.”


By David Arnold, President at Arnold Partners, LLC

Without fail, every January brings an onslaught of resumes to the inboxes of recruiters of all stripes. Finding a new job must be one of the most common resolutions. A new year signals that it’s time to dust off the old resume, add a few lines about what you have been up to the last two or three years, and start hitting send on messages to all of your favorite recruiters.

But if you find yourself at the executive level (VP and above) and you are still using a resume format from earlier in your career, it is time to step back for a moment and rethink how you are presenting yourself to the marketplace. What follows is one executive recruiter’s take on how to do that.

Custom versus static

The most common mistake most people make in writing a resume is thinking that it is “finished.” It is never finished, and it should not be seen as a static document. By the time your reach the VP or C-suite level, you have far more achievements under your belt than you can put on one resume (and please do not try).

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Tailored Brands Stock Is Getting Hammered Because Now Every Day Is Casual Friday

“…Like so many trends these days, the shift to more casual dress codes is led by technology start-ups, said David Arnold, the president of the recruitment firm Arnold Partners. Depending on the workplace, wearing a suit to a Silicon Valley office can make you look like “a square,” he said.

“I think suits are totally out in Silicon Valley,” Arnold said in a phone interview. “Particularly with the latest generation of tech companies from Facebook forward, suits aren’t what they wear.”

At San Francisco start-ups like Lyft and Airbnb, you can even get away with jeans and a sweatshirt, Arnold said.

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Intel’s New CEO Advances From CFO Spot a Second Time

Mr. Swan’s experience at General Electric Co., where he advanced through a gamut of different roles and departments, has likely prepared him well for the transition, said Dave Arnold, president and founder of Arnold Partners LLC, an executive search consultant focused on CFO and board searches in the technology sector.

“He moved in GE from role to role to role…and not every CFO gets that exposure,” Mr. Arnold said.

That exposure can help a strong strategic thinker with a solid grip on finance become a trusted leader.

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The Dawning of the C-Suite Candidate Scarcity Era

Bt Dave Arnold

Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday to the 10,000 people in the United States who turned 65 today. And tomorrow, too. And the day after that. In fact, according to Pew Research, this will happen every day for the next 18 years. We are seeing the effects of this aging of the workforce already and it’s specifically a concern for the C-suite (and those responsible for filling it) in terms of succession planning. To make matters more challenging, the size of the workforce coming in behind these retiring baby boomers is the smallest workforce demographic. Simply put, there will not be enough talent to go around.

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How to Land Your First Executive Job

Dave Arnold is President of Arnold Partners, an independent CFO search firm for technology companies. Arnold focuses on CFO and Board searches.

“It is not the resume that is going to make the big difference [for an executive job search],” says Arnold. “It is having the right mentor who will champion you into the executive suite coupled with demonstrated skills to perform at the executive level. This is a combination of technical know-how and executive presence.”

Arnold asks every CFO he meets how they got their first CFO role. About 80% are “battlefield promotions,” he said, meaning they were not previously in the executive chair.

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Experts Explain What Smart Casual Is and How to Wear It in 2018

But, how do experts define “smart casual”?

According to Dave Arnold, President of Arnold Partners, LLC and executive recruiter for the tech industry, dressing “smart casual” is much more about elevating typically casual looks.

“Smart casual is employing finer-quality clothes that are still casual but well-fitted, in-style and of good fabrics. Smart casual does not imply flashy or flamboyant,” Arnold told TheStreet. “Take a look in the mirror before you leave the house and smile. This should never be construed as arrogance or trying to out-dress your peers. It is a matter of looking sharp and in-style. As a recruiter I look for people who have self-confidence and self-awareness – how they dress and how they carry themselves is part of this.”

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Dave Arnold, President, Arnold Partners, LLC, Invited to Join San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust

LOS GATOS, Calif., Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Dave Arnold, president of Arnold Partners, LLC, has been invited to join San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust, an exclusive community for influential business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.

Arnold was chosen for membership by the San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust Selection Committee due to his experience, leadership and influence in the regional business landscape and beyond. As the leading independent CFO search firm for technology and life science companies nationwide, Arnold Partners’ placements have resulted in the creation of over $15B in value in the last nine years. Arnold is a recognized source on CFO and tech issues in leading national business media.

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More employers resort to making counteroffers to retain highly skilled employees

“Counteroffers are almost always a bad idea,” said Dave Arnold, president of search firm Arnold Partners. “People do not change jobs for money, unless they are grossly underpaid. People change jobs primarily because they do not like their boss, they do not feel challenged, they do not agree with the corporate direction or ethics, or they detest their commute.”

By retaining employees with only a cash counteroffer, “the majority of the time the employee will leave within a year,” Arnold said. “It is not good for the employee, as they lose the trust of their superiors.”

But there can be exceptions. “If you really get to the root of why the person is leaving and fundamentally change the circumstances of employment, it can be a mutually beneficial outcome,” Arnold said. “This is usually not the case, however. Companies are throwing good money out the window if they only counter with cash.”

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If You Are Not Improving Then You Are Going to Fail

Podcast: David Arnold Founder and Owner of Arnold Partners LLC

“About 2 months before I started my own business, I purchased a home with my wife and we tripled our mortgage payment and 2 months later I came home and told her I was going to quit my high paying job to start my own business and I think that was a moment of truth, not only for me starting my own business but for my marriage, fortunately my wife has been extremely supportive although she did think I’d lost my mind”…

[Listen for More]

Dave Arnold is the founder and President of Arnold Partners, the leading independent CFO search firm for technology companies nationwide. Since starting Arnold Partners in 2008 his placed CFO’s have helped clients realize over $11Billion in increased value. Dave’s first foray into self employment was mowing lawns at the age of 8!

Before popping the question

Prior to meeting with your employer, do your homework. Start by putting yourself in your boss’s shoes.

“They’ll want to know what you’re doing to save the company money, increase sales or make it more efficient,” says Dave Arnold, president of Arnold Partners LLC.

Count on conducting research.

“This means documenting what you’ve done for the company. Indicate how it’s benefited the culture or bottom line,” suggests McLeod.

“Check out HR policies on raises at your company as well. Talk with trusted colleagues who can shed light on how and when raises have been handed out.”

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If you regularly travel for work or host out-of-town clients, you know how quickly business expenses can rack up—and what a pain they are to itemize. Dave Arnold, president of California-based CFO search firm Arnold Partners, recommends downloading Expensify to stay on top of it.

“It tracks all of your spending and creates an expense report for your AP department,” he says. Once you take a picture of your receipt, the app (available for Android and iOS) will automatically record and submit your expenses.

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Help wanted: CFOs in Silicon Valley, particularly ones with IPO experience

David Arnold has a big problem with chief financial officers of late. Namely, he can’t find enough of them.

“There is a big shortage of ‘A’ player CFOs,”said Arnold, a Silicon Valley headhunter who primarily recruits CFOs for tech companies.

Industry surveys, anectodal evidence, and broader macroeconomic trends back up Arnold. The U.S. economy will face a sizable workforce deficit over the next few decades as birth rates slow and millions of Baby Boomers retire.

By 2030, demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply, resulting in a global talent shortage of more than 85.2 million people, especially in financial services and technology firms, according to Korn Ferry executive search firm.

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Bosses are likely to face more flak from the White House and the water cooler alike. President Trump’s tendency to say whatever he wants without regard to consequence has emboldened workers to do the same, said David Arnold, president of Arnold Partners, an executive search firm that focuses on Silicon Valley and tech companies.

“It’s getting a little out of control,” Arnold said. “There’s this tone that they are getting from the top, and it’s exacerbating the problem.”

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Discreetly recruiting top executives is exceedingly difficult, especially in Silicon Valley where everyone seems to know each other, Arnold, the headhunter, said.

“It’s a very slippery slope for anyone, never mind a famous person like Whitman, to look for a new position,” Arnold said. “There are too many sources” who could spill the beans, especially at the board level.

While CEOs are usually pretty good at protecting the confidentiality of candidates, directors don’t care as much about such things, Arnold said; boards are more concerned with their own interests. (That said, Uber’s board managed to woo Khosrowshahi without his name leaking out.)
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The quick exit of Anthony Scaramucci as the Whitehouse communications director was the catalyst for this article on how long should one stay at a company if you hope to put it on your resume.

To answer this question, Dr. Tracey Wilen, author of Employed For Life: 21st Century Career Trendsand Dave Arnold, who runs the executive search firm Arnold Partner, LLC were asked to provide their advise. Arnold calls it “a balancing act of tenure and time past.”

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It’s never easy to dissolve business partnerships. But discussing how you’d want to end things with your partner before things go bad can help.Trouble may still arise even after careful planning….

Los Gatos, California-based executive recruiter Dave Arnold had a partner from whom he’d grown apart. One summer, the two discussed their diverging interests and agreed on a written plan to amicably split by the end of the year.

“We came up with what I thought was a workable separation agreement,” Arnold recalls. “Then reality set in that this was going to happen and it didn’t go off as smoothly as I’d hoped.”

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What is the turnover in your company, in the executive suite and in the department, I am interviewing for?

Dave Arnold, President at Arnold Partners says as a leading independent CFO search consultant for technology companies, he’s had 100’s of people go out to interview with clients, and he thinks that’s a question worth asking. While people no longer expect to stay at any given job for decades or more, it’s nice to know how long you can expect to stick around if given the opportunity. If the interviewer grows uncomfortable or shares the fact that turnaround at their company is higher than Dancing with the Stars, you might want to think twice before accepting the position.

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Dave Arnold is quoted in LA TIMES article, “Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat to be Google’s new CFO,” Mar. 25, 2015.

“It’ll definitely turn some heads,” said David Arnold, president of Arnold Partners, a Los Gatos, Calif., executive search firm. He said he placed three Wall Street CFOs in the same roles at tech companies just last year. “There’s something going on.”

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Dave Arnold, president of Arnold Partners LLC, a CFO search firm, tells GoodCall®, “Even with what was considered ‘blue collar’ jobs where people are working with their hands, the need for technical know-how is a must.” Arnold says these workers must now know how to read and comprehend technical manuals and navigate complex software programs.” As positions become more sophisticated, he says undergraduate degrees are popular because regardless of major, they equip students to solve problems.

“The corollary to this is the need – or competitive reality – for advanced degrees for executive level roles: Most people in the C-suite now have some type of graduate degree, and for many executives, it was earned at a top business school,” Arnold explains.

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One of the worst things staffing pros can do in a panicked situation is offer fluff. Clients aren’t looking for you to hold their hand or make them feel better — they want the truth. Of course, it’s easy to worry the truth will send them running, Dave Arnold, president of Arnold Partners, LLC, believes this information and visibility brings a sense of calm to the process.

“Talent shortage: It is real,” Arnold warned. “There are never enough “A” players to go around in any market, let alone one that we are in now. My approach is to be as transparent with my client as possible and show them the real effort going on to attract talent to their opportunity. Information and visibility to the process calm the nerves and helps align expectations.”

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