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CFO Cover Letter Example

Any CFO needs to be as good at business storytelling as they are with numbers. Here is how they tell their CFO career story in their cover letter.
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CFO Cover Letter Example
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Any CFO understands the power of words to drive business profitability. Articulating value is not all about numbers and complicated financial metrics. As the finance leader of their company, they should be proficient communicators. As such, their ability to explain their own value in a CFO cover letter will be closely scrutinized.

Yet, here is where many CFOs stumble. Their resume is bursting with financial achievements but sharing their personality does not come so naturally. A cover letter is as much about how they went about their work as what they did. This writing guide and the corresponding CFO cover letter example will walk you through ways to tell that career story that will highlight your personality and leadership style.

Writing a CFO cover letter can be a daunting task. What will their future CEO expect from them? How do they decide which conversations to start in the cover letter that they will continue during an interview? How do they do things differently and set themselves apart from the red-hot competition? 

Exploring cover letter examples can be a great place to get started. With 350+ cover letter examples and corresponding writing guides, Resume.io provides you with a wide variety of points of inspiration.

The CFO cover letter writing guide explores:

  • Choosing the right cover letter format and which paragraphs to use
  • Making the most of the intro, body, and conclusion sections
  • Things to consider when composing a CFO cover letter
  • Mistakes to avoid

Best format for a CFO cover letter

A CFO knows the impact of a well-formatted financial statement. Readers need to pick out the key messages with ease. It is much the same with a cover letter. Which stories lie behind the numbers and how do you tell them best in a free-flowing letter format? There is no reason to depart from the traditional cover letter format:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting/salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion)

Using devices such as bullet points will help you to concentrate the quantifiable achievements of your story into a concise list, while you can share your personality and motivations in the surrounding text. Your financial achievements should still feature heavily in a cover letter, and this is a way of making them pack a punch.

In addition, make sure that anything that you share in the cover letter is relevant to the job in question. This might mean that you tweak each cover letter as you send them out, but there is nothing worse for a senior business leader than reading something that is irrelevant to their situation. If you want the role, you will do your research on what is entailed.

Our comprehensive cover letter guide gives more detail in terms of some of the finer points of cover letter writing. It is worth a scan as you never know what your future boss might deem important. The CFO cover letter example below may help:

Adaptable cover letter example

Dear Mr. Tanner,

I have been a financial professional in the retail field for the past 25 years and a fishing enthusiast since I was a kid. As such, I can ensure you both that I can keep your bottom line healthy and that I firmly believe in your mission. Retail finance is like a well-organized tackle box: everything needs to be in order.

At Marshall Fishing I oversaw a ten-member finance team covering a network of 350+ small stores nationwide. Fishing retail is unique with both its high SKU density and relatively high value of products. An appreciation of commercial finance is essential for the store, buyer, and supply chain teams alike. My role was to serve as both gatekeeper and educator. During my tenure, over a three-year period, we reduced weekly stock cover by 25% and saved over $1.2m with a stock rotation program.

I created a set of financial reports that would allow every department insight into how they can directly impact financial performance. In terms of supplier management, we reduced debtor days by 32% and negotiated annual cost price reductions averaging 2.9%. We changed the product mix and improved gross margins by 4 percentage points by focusing on higher-margin products within the promotional strategy.

I recently received my MBA in retail management and am fully ACCA and CPA qualified. I am a big believer in upskilling my team and assisting them in their financial careers. When you invest in people, they stay with you. Our department had a respectable annual turnover of 10% (many of those were parental leave or external promotions).

I met with your Finance Manager Joy Prior at a recent conference and was enthused about your growth strategy. I would love to speak with you and find out more about how I might help contribute to this strategy.

Sincerely,

Peter Sanders

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Cover letter header

Getting the cover letter header right is relatively straightforward for a CFO. Choose a neutral color scheme and a simple style. Include your full name, email address, and mobile number. 

Some CFOs might choose not to include their mobile number on job search documents as they do not wish to receive countless unsolicited calls, but this is a bad idea. When you are looking for a job, you need to take advantage of all the opportunities that you can. You never know who might pass your number on to a fellow industry leader.

You do not need to include your full home address (data protection issues here). If you wish to be particularly formal, you can include the inside address of the employer. Many senior CFOs may still opt to do this, but make sure that you get the address right.

Cover letter greeting and introduction

A CFO cover letter should be as formal as possible. Address the CEO with “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. Surname” and make sure that you research whether they have other titles such as Dr. or Professor. Their preferred title should be on the job description, but you can always call to check.

Under no circumstances should a CFO cover letter be addressed “Dear Company Team.” There is no excuse for not finding out the name of your future boss at this level. You might choose to address the cover letter to the HR Director, but it’s best to put the name of the big boss there. Other senior people will read the cover letter in any case.

In terms of the cover letter introduction, consider addressing the biggest value that you will bring to the finance team, offer an example from your past that you can replicate and that shows how you will take their operation to the next level. Make sure that any figures you include are genuinely impressive.

Have a look at the intro from our CFO cover letter sample:

Adaptable cover letter greeting and introduction example

Dear Mr. Tanner,

I have been a financial professional in the retail field for the past 25 years and a fishing enthusiast since I was a kid. As such, I can ensure you both that I can keep your bottom line healthy and that I firmly believe in your mission. Retail finance is like a well-organized tackle box: everything needs to be in order.

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Try to avoid outdated greetings
Try to avoid outdated greetings

Cover letter middle part (body)

Once the impactful first story is taken care of, senior hiring managers will expect to find a variety of impressive projects, management stories, and financial innovation. The CFO job is incredibly complex, so this should be reflected in the diversity of accomplishments in your cover letter. Again, ensure that they are all extremely relevant to the job in question.

Show that you work well with your senior colleagues. A CFO shouldn’t be isolated from the rest of the business. It may be a good idea to include links to letters of recommendation from past colleagues. Different perspectives are often useful.

Go into more detail here about your preferred styles of working and how you interact with your fellow board members. Cultural fit is crucial for most businesses, so say it like it is or you may be in for an unpleasant surprise if you are offered the job and it isn’t for you.

Check out the middle part of our example CFO cover letter:

Adaptable cover letter body example

At Marshall Fishing I oversaw a ten-member finance team covering a network of 350+ small stores nationwide. Fishing retail is unique with both its high SKU density and relatively high value of products. An appreciation of commercial finance is essential for the store, buyer, and supply chain teams alike. My role was to serve as both gatekeeper and educator. During my tenure, over a three-year period, we reduced weekly stock cover by 25% and saved over $1.2m with a stock rotation program.

I created a set of financial reports that would allow every department insight into how they can directly impact financial performance. In terms of supplier management, we reduced debtor days by 32% and negotiated annual cost price reductions averaging 2.9%. We changed the product mix and improved gross margins by 4 percentage points by focusing on higher-margin products within the promotional strategy.

I recently received my MBA in retail management and am fully ACCA and CPA qualified. I am a big believer in upskilling my team and assisting them in their financial careers. When you invest in people, they stay with you. Our department had a respectable annual turnover of 10% (many of those were parental leave or external promotions).

Copied!

How to close a CFO cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

As every CFO will have a plethora of career tales to tell, the final paragraph can include one last reason to hire them. The last sentence should then state their interest in meeting and finding out more. This call-to-action should not be presumptive. 

There will be 3-5 interview stages before it is clear to both parties that there is a fit, but there is nothing wrong with sharing your passion for the role at this point. See an example of the CFO cover letter sample below:

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I met with your Finance Manager Joy Prior at a recent conference and was enthused about your growth strategy. I would love to speak with you and find out more about how I might help contribute to this strategy.

Sincerely,

Peter Sanders

Copied!

Basic mistakes in a CFO cover letter (and how to avoid them)

One mistake in a CFO cover letter is including too many financial details and not enough about your personality and how you go about your work. But there are some even more mundane mistakes that are worryingly common. Take your time and avoid the following:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes: It barely takes five minutes to check your grammar on Grammarly and ask a friend to proofread the document. Make sure that it sounds like you – the human touch should come through.
  • Avoid formatting errors: Most CFOs likely won’t be masters of graphic design, so make sure that you use a resume template that allows you to see the resume as the recipient will view it (ideally in PDF form). Make sure that you use an attractive cover letter template.
  • Get the figures right: Whenever you use a figure or percentage in the cover letter, triple-check to ensure that it is correct. The CEO might understand that there is a typo, but do they really want to hire someone who makes such basic mistakes when it matters so much? Probably not.

Key takeaways

  1. Ensure a mix of numbers, personality, and leadership qualities.
  2. Share the deeper context to your achievements – can you repeat them?
  3. Share your standout accomplishments – but only the ones that are relevant.
  4. Demonstrate a passion for the role and share your personal “why.”
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