Welcome to the 2013 CFO Awards (Publisher Mitch Bettis Introduction)

Chief financial officers don’t usually grandstand or seek the limelight, so the idea of honoring them at an awards banquet might seem unusual.

But for the past five years, Arkansas Business has shined the spotlight on financial leaders in Arkansas with distinct achievements in their field.

CFOs walk a unique path, documenting the present while planning for the future. While carefully managing the financial stewardship of an organization, a CFO also helps shapes strategy and direction. Because of this, a CFO can be invaluable to a CEO, a board of directors and a company.

Don’t bother trying to get tickets to our annual CFO of the Year luncheon -- it’s sold out. Arkansas Business isn’t alone in thinking that these leaders should be honored. More than 400 business professionals will gather Nov. 6 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock to pay tribute to these outstanding men and women.

We are especially proud to honor two professionals with Lifetime Achievement Awards. This year’s deserving recipients are Gene Whisenhunt of Hickingbotham Investments Inc., who is receiving the CFO Lifetime Achievement Award, and Phil Cox of JPMS Cox PLLC, who is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting.

In addition to awards honoring financial leaders at small private companies, large private companies, small banks, large banks and nonprofit organizations, we have a new category honoring CFOs in the public sector category.

Each of our honorees was chosen by an independent panel of judges who knows first hand about successful CFOs. This year’s judges panel included: Gary Cooper of JPMS Cox PLLC; Judy Shelley of Flake & Kelley Commercial, a 2012 small private company CFO of the Year winner; and Scott Pittillo of Relyance Bank, a 2012 small bank CFO of the Year winner. We are grateful for their service.

As you read about this year’s finalists and Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, we hope you’ll think about other financial officers who are also deserving of recognition and consider nominating them for the 2014 awards at ArkansasBusiness.com/NominateCFO or simply click the “nominate” tab on our homepage.

We’d also love to get your feedback about our CFO of the Year program. You can email me at mbettis@abpg.com or call me at (501) 372-1443.

Mitch Bettis

Publisher