CFO of the Year: Honoring Those Who Write the Future by Keeping Books on the Present

CFO of the Year: Honoring Those Who Write the Future by Keeping Books on the Present
Mitch Bettis

As the economy continues to emerge from a global recession, the most critical days of a chief financial offer may still lie ahead.

Navigating the complicated business environment of the past few years is one thing, but as businesses continue to diversify into national and international markets, mitigate foreign currency risks and help plan for future growth in developing markets, the guidance of a CFO becomes more and more critical.

CFOs walk the tightrope between managing the present and creating the future financial position of an organization. With a steady hand, reams of data and an occasional Magic 8-ball, a CFO can be invaluable to a CEO, a board of directors and a company.

Chief financial officers don’t usually grandstand or seek the limelight, so the idea of honoring them with a sit-down awards program might seem unusual. But for the past six years, Arkansas Business has shined the spotlight on financial leaders in Arkansas with distinct achievements in their field.

Arkansas Business isn’t alone in thinking that these leaders should be honored. About 400 business professionals will gather Nov. 5 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock to pay tribute to these outstanding men and women.

The honorees we salute represent the perfect combination of intelligence, judgment, loyalty, integrity, balanced ego and an impressive ability to see around corners.

We are especially proud to honor two professionals with Lifetime Achievement Awards. This year’s deserving recipients are Barbara Goswick of the University of Arkansas System, who is receiving the CFO Lifetime Achievement Award, and Don Smith of Thomas & Thomas, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting.

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

Each of our honorees was chosen by an independent panel of judges who knows first-hand about successful CFOs. This year’s judges were Karen Garrett, a CPA at Hudson Cisne & Co.; Lynn Wright, Arkansas area president for Regions Bank; and Phyllis Rogers, CFO at Delta Dental, a 2013 winner in the large private company category.

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 2015 awards at, 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 or call me at (501) 372-1443.

Mitch Bettis