For CFOs It’s Not Enough To Do The Right Thing, You Must Be Seen Doing It



Chief financial Officers are financial stewards and often the public face of their companies’ performance as liaisons with Wall Street and regulators. To fulfill those responsibilities it’s critical for them to be seen as trustworthy, especially at a time when greater transparency is demanded of companies. Brad Buss, CFO at SolarCity Corporation, a subsidiary of Tesla Inc., said in an interview with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics that a CFO’s reputation is so important that “once it’s tarnished, you’re unemployable.”

It is especially important for CFOs to ask whether they see themselves as ethical leaders and whether they are confident that employees and important external stakeholders see them that way.

Plato in the Republic asked whether it would be better to be an ethical person with a bad reputation, or an unethical person with a good reputation. The question presupposes that it is possible to be a good person but not be seen that way by others. And indeed a study reported in a California Management Review article found that many executives who considered themselves ethical were surprised to learn that employees and others saw them as amoral or even immoral leaders.

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Source: Forbes

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