November 4, 2010 | last updated May 29, 2012 11:24 pm

Hartford Business Journal -- CFO of the Year 2010

Greater Hartford's CFOs: Versatility Pays Off

These are not easy times to be a chief financial officer

A sluggish economy has taken its toll on every facet of business endeavor, for big companies and small. Nonprofits have been especially hard hit. And ground zero for both the problems and the solutions is usually the CFO's desk.

In any given day, a CFO may be called on to deal with the increasing state and federal financial reporting requirements and shareowner driven demand for greater financial accountability. But increasingly a CFO's responsibilities are stretching into information technology and human resources, manufacturing and sales.
Never has an organization's finance chief been burdened with more responsibilities and expectations as he or she manages, advises and guides an organization's financial direction.

And never has the challenge been more invigorating for those who do the job well. In this week's issue, we celebrate six Greater Hartford CFOs and a host of finalists in the Hartford Business Journal's 2010 CFO of the Year awards. The CFOs are drawn from Connecticut's broad spectrum of industries and organizations, for-profit and non-profits alike. They're the top financial minds for their organizations.

In today's difficult economy, these CFOs, like their counterparts across the nation, are being called on like never before by their CEOs and boards of directors to make the hard calls. They're the ones identifying and recommending ways to pare costs, helping find new ways to increase efficiencies and productivity, identifying new revenue streams, tax savings and more. The bottom line is their chief focus and their jobs and those of their fellow employees depend on their getting it just right.

No industry has escaped the effect that increased financial scrutiny and pressures of a worsening economy have brought in altering the role of the CFO. Once mainly a behind the scenes numbers cruncher whose critical function was appreciated chiefly at the top of the house by senior management and boards of directors, now the CFO is a highly visible officer. He or she regularly interacts with every department in the organization to achieve cost savings, raise productivity and protect earnings. Excellent communications skills and creative thinking are just as necessary a part of a CFO's skill set, today, as an aptitude for numbers.

CFOs have become the chief business ethics enforcer for companies. They must possess a complete understanding of an organization's operations, think strategically, practice a thorough understanding of risk management, yet operate daily at a very granular level. In today's business environment, they must be technologically savvy and possess an ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions.
They possess special skills to help keep our organizations financially sound and operationally strong, and they seem to thrive under immense pressure that might make most of us weak in the knees.

Please join us in congratulating our winners and finalists. They're helping keep Greater Hartford's businesses strong — and that's good for all of us.

— Norm Bell, editor,
Hartford Business Journal

Stories compiled by Kevin Moore, contributing editor

Winners of the 2010 CFO of the Year Award:

Dale Ribaudo
Senior vice president and CFO
FM Facility Maintenance

Saul Basch
Vice chairman, treasurer, and CFO
HSB Group (Hartford Steam Boiler)

Bob Arace
Arburg Inc.

Brian Beck
President and CFO
Wealth Management Group of
North America, a division of Lexco Wealth Management Inc.

Tito Gautier
Vice president of finance and treasurer
McLean Community Services

Michael Connelly
Greater Hartford Arts Council

Click HERE for information about the judges.

Finalists for the 2010 CFO of the Year Award

Name Company Web site
Robert Arace Arburg, Inc.
Joe Baker Community Foundation of
Greater New Britain
Saul Basch Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co.
Brian Beck Wealth Management Group of NA
George Bellas Connecticut Innovations
Michael Connelly Greater Hartford Arts Council
Michael Fresher The Bushnell Center for the
Performing Arts
Augusto Gautier McLean Community Services
Paul Halee Vbrick
Donna Lasher Okay Industries
Paula Matta Walker Systems Support
Kevin Murphy Eastern CT Health Network
David Newirth Little Theater of Manchester
Dale Ribaudo FM Facility Maintenance
Deborah Sokol Monitor Controls, Inc.
Joseph Weist YMCA of Greater Hartford

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