24 CFO blogs, resources, guides & events to grow as a leader

Patrick Whatman

Published on September 1, 2023


Great leaders never stop learning and growing. For CFOs, that can mean moving beyond accounting into strategy and business partnering - or vice versa for those with a strategic background. 

It can also mean growing into the executive role - building an external presence and becoming a stronger communicator. Inspiring and educating, as well as keeping the lights on and the auditors in check. 

And for some, it means diving into new developments like AI and automation, finding new efficiencies, and tinkering with the ever-evolving toolstack. 

Whichever sounds most like you, you need the right sources of inspiration. This post looks at the best blogs, guides, newsletters, and events to keep you at the top of your craft.

CFO Connect - community - finance leaders - Spendesk

The 5 best CFO blogs

Blog are among the best sources of new ideas and quick insights online. Here are a few to bookmark immediately. 

1. CFO Connect

CFO Connect’s blog and website are built to serve current and future members of its community. As such, all of the content and resources are tailor-made for modern CFOs.

You’ll find 1:1 interviews with both new and experienced finance leaders, strategies for building your team and tool stack, and original research and surveys from the 10,000+ community members. 

The resources are aimed mostly at CFOs in growing and scaling businesses, with topics like internationalisation, choosing your ERP, and structuring high-performance teams. 

Where to start

2. GrowCFO

Similar to CFO Connect, GrowCFO is also a community and education space for CFOs. Its membership program has more than 1,000 members, getting hands-on advice, mentoring, templates, and frameworks.

The blog is therefore aimed specifically at upskilling as a finance leader, and is a great entry point into the more advanced (paid) resources. You’ll find hundreds of posts, podcast episodes, CFO trends, reports, and more, all aimed at knowledge-hungry CFOs. 

Where to start

3. The SaaS CFO

As the name suggests, this blog goes deep on all things SaaS finance. Ben Murray shares more than 25 years’ worth of finance and accounting knowledge in concise, actionable articles. The majority and most popular are “how to” posts on everything from due diligence and audit to calculating ratios and reporting to the board. 

The SaaS CFO also has an academy with free and paid courses, and a range of downloadable resources to share with your finance team. It really is a brilliant resource for SaaS businesses.

Where to start

4. Corporate Finance Lab

This blog’s for CFOs who want to keep in touch with academia. The Lab itself is run by professor Joeri Vananroye, and the blog looks at the intersection of finance and law, particularly in the EU. 

Available in Dutch and English, you’ll find technical analyses of OECD reports, fast-approaching European Parliament motions, and a blog section named “exotic organizational forms.” The concepts are fascinating and insightful, but this is not the blog for quick P&L tips or cloud accounting suggestions. 

Where to start

5. CFO.com

This may be an obvious choice, but the list really wouldn’t be complete without it. CFO.com is a full-blown media publication with a wide range of news, interviews, opinion pieces, research reports, and career advice. 

There’s also a deep resources library and a never-ending supply of trending topics. Compared with others on this list, the focus skews slightly towards larger businesses and more traditional corporate CFO roles. But there’s still plenty on emerging tech, the startup and scale-up scene, and the changing faces of finance leaders around the world.

Where to start

Industry niche finance blogs

Insurance Noon

Pretty much everything worth knowing about health, life, auto, home, rental and even pet insurance. Plus mortgages, loans, and disabilities. Essential reading for industry professionals.

ONEtoONE Corporate Finance

ONEtoONE are experts in mergers and acquisitions, and the blog covers everything to know on this subject.

The Charity CFO

Clearly one of the go-to resources for finance professionals in the non profit and charitable sectors. Also includes recommendations for working with sales and marketing teams, and building a better non profit all around. 

CFO mailing lists

When you don’t have time to monitor every finance blog, the best solution is a handful of choice CFO newsletters. And these ones absolutely deliver. 

1. Mostly Metrics by CJ Gustafson

CJ’s Substack is a mix of free and paid content. On its own, the free offering is more than exciting enough, full of stories of CFOs run amok and real-life mistakes (or near misses) from CJ’s experience.

You’ll also find great primers on SaaS metrics, equity (both as CFO and for employees), and FP&A strategy. Seriously, it’s an excellent subscribe.

Where to start

2. CFO Secrets by Secret CFO

Despite its playful logo and mysterious author, CFO Secrets is a goldmine of information. The weekly newsletter has a similar tone to Mostly Metrics, combining personal (albeit anonymous) tales with lessons on corporate finance fundamentals. 

It’s a great source of hands-on finance strategy, with some excellent red flags to avoid mixed in. And it’s a fun read, which certainly nevers hurts. 

Where to start

3. CFO Brew

There’s a whole range of Morning Brew newsletters and podcasts (Marketing, HR, IT, Tech, Retail, and more), each designed to bring you news and trends in a digestible format. Whereas the two newsletters above dive deep into a particular topic or data point in each edition, CFO Brew is great if you need a brief, broad overview of what’s happening. 

Which doesn’t mean you lose out on quality. The newsletters are engaging, entertaining, and insightful. They’re really the ideal way to keep up with what’s going on. 

Where to start

Downloadable CFO guides

Whether it’s to read on a flight, to print for your desk, or to share with the rest of your team, sometimes a good PDF is just what you need. Here are some suggestions. 

1. 7 Chief Obsessions of Successful CFOs

What do leading CFOs at fast-growing companies tend to have in common? This book explores the key focus areas for CFOs in successful companies around the world. 

And this isn’t just a greatest hits of famous executives - you won’t find quotes from the leaders of Disney, Meta, and Apple. These are the finance leaders steering the great companies of tomorrow - raising funds, dealing with boards and investors, and making their way through turbulent markets.

These are the keys to succeed and thrive as a modern CFO.

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2. Your First 90 Days as CFO (BCG)

The first 90 days for a new CFO are critical, and you’ll find lots of great new CFO checklists to help get you through this exciting period. 

BCG has gone deeper than a checklist, with a detailed report on pretty much everything you need to consider. You also get some classic frameworks and thought exercises - just what you would expect from a top business consulting firm.

Source: BCG

A simple highlight is the section “How CFOs create value,” broken down into four key areas:

That’s a very nice baseline description of the modern CFO role

3. CFO Salary Benchmark Report - from CFO Connect & Spendesk

It’s hard to find honest, reliable salary benchmarks for finance teams. How much does the average Financial Controller make? And how does experience, industry, country, and company size influence a CFO’s expected salary? 

CFO Connect surveyed nearly 1,000 finance professionals to find out. This benchmark is particularly useful to gauge the differences between the US, UK, and mainland Europe, and to see trends in CFO salaries year over year. 

The report also looks into key topics for the current moment, including the gender pay gap in finance, and the downturn’s impact on mental health.

Books for CFOs

CFO Connect shared a wonderful list of CFO books, largely recommended by the finance community. Here are a few of the most popular from their list. 

1. "The Personal MBA" by Josh Kaufman

Plenty of CFOs have spent the time, money, and energy required to acquire an MBA. But whether you’re one of them or not, Josh Kaufman gives you the most essential lessons taught in the big business schools. 

This book is clearly ideal for anyone who hasn’t received the formal qualification - perhaps you come from a classic accounting background. But there’s so much to learn (or re-learn), even for those who’ve done the real thing. 

2. "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz

Originally published in 2014, this book is a staple for growth-minded executives. It looks at the most common challenges faced by startup founders and leaders, and his own approach to overcoming them. 

It’s a “what not to do” guide written from one very experienced and insightful person’s perspective. Which makes it both a useful and entertaining read. 

3. "Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter" by Liz Wiseman & Greg McKeown

First published in 2010, this book is maybe even more of a classic than “Hard Things.” This book helps CFOs with the often-overlooked aspect of the role: leadership. CFOs are of course vocal, visible executives in companies, and your ability to inspire and educate are arguably just as important as your work in the P&L. 

Learn what sets the best leaders apart. And also what brings some managers and leaders down in the eyes of their teams. 

4. “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott

This book’s full title is “Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean.” Its subject is often cited as a crucial tool for getting better performance from teams, starting with leaders. 

When team members can honestly and frankly tell each other the good and the bad - in a psychologically safe environment - the result is usually clearer objectives and higher performance. In all the CFO interviews we’ve conducted, this book came up most often. 

CFO podcasts

1. CFO Yeah!

CFO Yeah! is an interview-style podcast with business leaders and finance experts from around the world. You’ll go inside companies like Soundcloud, Netguru, MeridianLink, Notion, Gainsight, and Mosaic. 

Conversations range from the subjects’ career journeys and how they became CFOs, to their top challenges, to their all-time favorite tools and processes. 

Where to start

2. HBR IdeaCast

Listen as some of the smartest people in the room discuss strategy and emerging business trends. Alongside HBR’s senior editors, you’ll meet CFOs, CEOs, and COOs from world-famous companies. They give their insights and lessons on what matters to companies right now. 

And with nearly 1,000 published episodes, you’ll never run out of listening material.

Where to start

3. CFO Bookshelf

If the short list of books above is just an appetizer, this podcast is the main course. In each episode, the hosts and guests talk about their favorite and most influential reads. 

Where to start

CFO events

Very few resources beat the chance to learn from and network with CFOs in real time. Which makes great finance events - both in person and virtual - a rare and valuable commodity. Here’s where to find them. 

1. CFO Connect

CFO Connect has already featured a couple of times on this list thanks to its rich blog and fascinating podcast. But at heart, it’s a community focused on events for CFOs. These include the annual CFO Connect Summit, VIP dinners and meetups in London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and more. There’s also a constant flow of virtual events, both live and on demand. 

Whatever the format, events are always tailored to the needs of the community - hosted by and for CFOs and finance leaders. And the sole aim is to grow together and learn from one another. 

The community is free to join, and you’ll find a list of coming events here.

2. CFO Leadership Council

The CFO Leadership Council is a community-based organization, similar to CFO Connect. The audience and events are primarily US-focused, but there are plenty of virtual events open to the globe. 

You’ll find local networking and cocktail events in US cities, trending topic discussions, and even deep dives into tools like NetSuite and generative AI, and industry-specific talks for manufacturing, tech, non-profit, and more.

It’s a seemingly endless source of opportunities to upskill and grow as a CFO.

3. GrowCFO

As noted above, GrowCFO is predominantly a paid community. But there are some excellent public events featuring experienced finance leaders and educators. And similar to CFO Connect, the key aim is to grow in all ways as a CFO. 

You won’t only find events on KPIs and finance metrics. GrowCFO’s speciality is in growing great finance leaders, with topics including career growth, mentorship, and the changing perception of finance in companies. 

If you want to be both a better leader and a finance expert, these events are perfect.

The list of great CFO blogs and resources just keeps growing

This was a relatively brief selection of the wonderful resources for CFOs and finance leaders available today. There has truly never been a better time to develop your own skills and knowledge.

If that’s your chief goal, the best bet is to join one of the CFO communities we’ve seen above. GrowCFO and the CFO Leadership Council are both incredible networks with detailed, sharp resources. 

But of course, our number one recommendation is to join CFO Connect for its unique events and engaged CFO community:

CFO Connect - community - finance leaders - Spendesk