ExecutiveBiz recently spoke with Aaron Daniels, VP and CFO at Argon ST. He told us about the role of a CFO at a government contractor and how that role has changed over time. He also told us about his greatest passion (outside of work), the outdoors, and some of the great hiking and biking trails in the DC area.
ExecutiveBiz: Can you talk about the role of the CFO at a government contractor?
Aaron Daniels: The primary role of a CFO is keeping the books accurately and in compliance with all of the rules and regulations; compliance with GAAP and SEC rules and government accounting rules, CAS, FAR, DCAA and so on and so forth. Every CFO of a public company, government contracting or non-government contracting has to do those things well. They have to be able to interact with the Board and with the audit committee to ensure that the company maintains its compliance and have an accurate picture of the company“™s status. I think beyond that the most important job is to be as much of a strategic partner to the operations as you can be. Not just to the CEO but to the COO and to the business division heads and to other support departments; to the HR department, to the legal department. It really is helping to guide those groups from a financial perspective and to provide the financial support to what they do. Those folks aren“™t always that interested in that support and that“™s kind of hard sometimes ““ establishing your value to them as a service provider inside the organization. A CFO“™s value is just something that evolves over time, in my experience. It“™s like trust or respect: it“™s not granted, it“™s earned. You need a willingness to jump into situations and see if there“™s an aspect of a challenge that the CFO can lend support to. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn“™t. You also need a willingness at the same time to be a bit of a wall flower and to be an observer and to support the organization on a more indirect basis when the situation calls for that. You maybe need to be a little bit of a chameleon inside the organization and being able to adapt to the circumstance to provide that underpinning of support while also driving growth, change and value creation.