How to Get CFO to Take Your Side in Your Next Talent Acquisition

Budget time for most global mobility managers is like going to the dentist or doctor – the prospect appears painful, the experience can be seen as physically and emotionally taxing, but yet the whole thing is necessary to ensure that one remains in good health. Global mobility managers who go and bat for their prospective budgets recognize that, even in a good economy, approval is not always automatic.

There will always be cuts and reductions, as resources are being maximized. Certain items that they might want and feel necessary to their work just might be pencilled out by management.

The challenge becomes tougher once the company’s Chief Financial Officer weighs in and actually takes a seat on the table during the defense. Presenting one’s case before their immediate supervisor or even accounting managers is one thing; the former just might be sympathetic to the global mobility manager’s cause while the latter’s limited perspective can allow them to create challenge on certain areas, but not in everything.

The CFO is a harder client to sell, to put it mildly. Far from just being a glorified penny-pincher or bean-counter, oftentimes they do have the necessary global viewpoint and a very layered understanding of the issues that can put the global mobility manager on their toes.

For example, an accountant or finance manager just might acquiesce to the global mobility manager’s request for more trips to Asia arguing recruitment scarcity in the United States; the accountant will just accept their colleague’s word that a trip to the other side of the world is the only way to fill certain positions.

On the other hand, a CFO who keeps themselves updated on recruitment trends and developments just might point out that professionals of a similar skill set might be found among immigrants already in the U.S. — or perhaps somewhere closer to home, like Latin America or Canada. The projected budget for recruitment could then drop significantly.

It is the CFO’s job to scrutinize every resource and expenditure used, especially given that expatriate and assignee failure rate has remained at an alarming and consistently high 40 percent the past 40 years. More important, as outlined by The Globe and Mail, the CFO’s role has evolved to that of a decision-maker.

As such, they are mandated not just to look at the numbers, but to understand every aspect of the business — including but not limited to sales, marketing, transport, logistics, recruitment, and yes, global mobility.

The only way that the global mobility manager can make this financial interaction — and relationship — with the CFO is to make them their ally, not an enemy.

First, the global mobility manager must do their accounting homework really well. Go through the proposed budget with a fine tooth comb. Be ruthless if necessary; expunge every non-essential item and replace it with something manageable. Control costs by looking for better deals and maximizing each resource. Outsource research of difficult subjects, like taxation, to those who are more qualified. Other experts like

California Corporate Housing can present more attractive and affordable options when it comes to assignee accommodations.

Second, they can use current technology to build their case. Machine intelligence can work well not just in justifying expenses but in showing the value of each activity, project, and talent hired. Data analytics can compare the productivity of a company that happens due to the hiring of qualified talent with a lackluster performance brought about by talent-related budget cuts.

As reported in CFO, CFO’s can appreciate an analytical real-time update of the current costs of production during the actual production cycle. Using tech that the CFO values just might be one way of creating bridges with them.

Finally, the global mobility manager must treat the CFO as an esteemed partner in organization building. They must try to see things from the perspective of their financial superior and see where they are coming from.

Animosity, resentment, anxiety and all other negative emotions must be set aside. Instead, global mobility managers must work with the CFO as a team to create the best value for the same company they work for. It has been said that global mobility managers should train to think of themselves as leaders — then collaborating in harmony with a fellow leader (who happens to be their superior) might be the best way to start.