PODCAST: What it’s like to be a CFO

Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 by Nicole Fracasso

The role of CFO is a position many professionals aim to achieve one day. Kyle Bickhart, CPA, and CFO at OSCPA joined us on a recent episode of The State of Business podcast to discuss his transition into the role almost three years ago, what surprised him and how his background in industry and public helps him advocate for members.

Bickhart has worked for GBQ, KPMG, and eventually moved into industry at JP Morgan Chase, AEP, and then L Brands. After 10 years at L Brands, Bickhart decided to make the transition to CFO, and began working here at OSCPA.

“Taking what I had learned at big businesses and applying it to not for profit was just really moving,” Bickhart said.

Bickhart said he was “a little terrified” before starting the role. But having that fear is good, because it means you’re challenging yourself.

“If you can go into the job and just do it, that’s not the right job,” he said.

Now that Bickhart is a few years into the role, there have been some surprises along the way. For example, he learned about everything OSCPA does for profession awareness, diversity and inclusion and the impressive resources available to assist members.

“I was shocked by how talented of a staff we have and the passion that they bring,” he said. “I feel honored every day to be a leader of this organization.”

Bickhart’s background in the profession and time as a member before he worked at OSCPA gives him a unique perspective on how to move the Society forward.

“I understand what I was feeling as a member,” he said.

Bickhart also discussed the valuable lessons he’s learned over the years. Firstly, listening has been crucial to the role. Bickhart emphasizes the importance of listening to learn, instead of listening to reply. This has allowed him to provide support to make the people around him successful.

He also discusses the importance of embracing mistakes. While Bickhart doesn’t encourage making the same mistake ten times, he recognizes that they do happen.

“You can’t be terrified of making mistakes,” he said. “And you have to create an environment to allow people to make mistakes.”

The CFO role is constantly changing, and it’s important for anyone in the role to change with it.

For more details on what it’s like to be CFO, check out Bickhart’s episode of The State of Business here.

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