Background Verification for CFOs

Hiring a competent individual who complements the company culture is always challenging. These challenges magnify when companies look for candidates to fill executive positions. Senior professionals in this category are also referred to as C-Suite/C-Level employees, representing their respective organizations’ values and ethos. Hence, it becomes even more crucial to ensure an ideal candidate is entrusted with the job. Conducting an executive-level – CEO or CFO background check is critical as it provides the following benefits. 

  • Improved quality of knowledgeable candidates hired. 
  • Verify the identity of candidates in real-time and weed out the problematic contenders.
  • Reduce fraud, theft, and misuse of resources within the organization.
  • Decrease discipline-related issues at the workplace.
  • Promote a productive work environment and reduce job turnover

For these reasons, global trends indicate an increase in criminal background verification to ensure that the onboarded candidates do not bring any liabilities with them.  

Conducting background checks is an effective way to help reduce wrongdoing and fraud within organizations. However, there are no guidelines regarding the appropriate utilization of background check results. Companies also are responsible for ensuring that the candidate’s personal data is maintained and disposed of safely. 

A CFO is a highly experienced professional who controls the complex fiscal pulse of a company. Once hired, the CFO would have complete access to your organizational financial information and strategy. Given the sensitive nature of the role, a thorough check on the prospective CFO’s financial records, history, and credit score is a must. Historically, senior-level executives hold the dubious distinction of being responsible for most cases involving embezzlement of funds. It is better to scrutinize the candidate well in advance and prevent such incidents later. 

Here are a few facts about conducting a background check when appointing CFOs:

 

  • Typical Verification Checks:

A typical CFO background check could include some or all of the below:

  • Identify Verification and Address Check
  • Criminal Background Verification (local, state, nation-wide and international)
  • Record of Sexual Offences
  • Candidates court record database
  • Active or existing litigation the candidate might be involved in
  • Credit History and financial records verification (personal and employment-related finances)
  • Education Qualifications
  • Past Employments records and references
  • Web and Social Media presence
  • Drug Usage tests and reports
  • India Reputational Risk Database Check
  • Politically Exposed Person screening
  • Motor Vehicle or Regional Transport Office (RTO) related verification

You could also come across cases where the HR department bypasses the CFO background check altogether. This occurs if existing CXO level executives recommend the CFO, and the HR department does not want to displease them.

  • Organizations are often more willing to conduct background checks on their junior employees than their CXO-level executives. This is surprising, considering that higher-ranking executives cause most high-level financial scams.

Identifying problematic candidates who might give into wrongful practices and prove dangerous for their organizations is no easy task. Running a criminal background verification is an absolute necessity to weed out risky candidates and fraudsters.  Organizations that cannot conduct such comprehensive verifications in-house can employ agencies’ services to do it. Several reputed agencies perform 360-degree evaluations of CXO-level executives. These agencies then report to the hiring organization regarding the executive’s work ethics, competence, credibility, character, social and professional reputation, etc.

Here are some tips for conducting background checks for CFOs.

  • Background checks must be kept job-relevant as much as possible.
  • Organizations must identify all possible risk parameters related to the CFO position. This will provide greater clarity regarding the type of candidate they plan to hire for the position.
  • In case of observed anomalies, it is best to discuss the same with the candidates in question.
  • Organizations might sometimes be unable to conduct a thorough background screening in-house.  It is then necessary for them to seek the services of a reputed agency to do the same for them.
  • The hiring team and HR department must work in tandem to ensure the correct state and national rules are applied when conducting a background check. 
  • Background verification must be conducted with the consent of the individual being verified. Also, the entire process must be carried out in a fair and legally compliant manner.
  • To curb fraud, organizations must not blindly rely on background verification of candidates. Organizations must conduct routine audits and create anonymous options for employees to report any wrongdoing.
  • Hiring organizations must ensure all background data collected for candidates (financial or otherwise) is entirely discarded after use to avoid any future misuse.

The jury is out on how much scrutiny is needed and acceptable for a thorough background check. A background check is essential and must be conducted legally while respecting the candidate’s privacy. Since CFOs handle the financial core of organizations, a CFO background check is necessary. They occupy a position of trust and have operational authority over organizational monetary resources. Seasoned CFOs with integrity will ensure financial growth and success for their organization.

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