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2023 Survey Report: The State of the PE Sponsor & CFO Relationship

97% of sponsors and 91% of CFOs agree that CFOs have become more concerned about their job security since their company received PE investment.

Accordion has created a roadmap for PE sponsors and CFOs to navigate friction and build value creation partnerships across 3 key areas:

1. Make room for all of the hats CFOs need to wear

Agree completely that PE-backed CFOs should play a role in scaling the business and driving enterprise-wide transformation.


Today’s CFOs are expected to oversee areas that used to be the sole domain of other C-suite members. Since 2021, twice as many sponsors and three times as many CFOs agree completely that “PE-backed CFOs should play a role in scaling the business and driving enterprise-wide transformation.”




The best part of being asked to be a transformative CFO is that it gives you a seat at the table for value creation. A CFO who has that seat would be wise to not give it up too quickly. Instead, solidify your place at the table. Be a partner to the CEO and the board to drive action on agreed-upon initiatives. Take stock of the actions taken and transformations undergone. The cost and cash flow levers activated in this environment should become table stakes to continue to transform and improve the function.

2. Sponsors & CFOs: align on business objectives

Which of the following will be key areas of focus for your department going forward?


CFOs and sponsors must align on the investment thesis to work in service of the right KPIs and value creation levers. Sponsors are planning now for the deal-making economy to come. In defining their priority list moving forward, sponsors put M&A towards the top, CFOs put M&A at the bottom.






With the revelation that sponsors are already thinking about M&A, CFOs need to be proactive. Think ahead. If M&A is coming (and if sponsors are focused on it, M&A is definitely coming), right now is the moment to design a playbook for finance to handle integration and synergies. If a CFO isn’t creating that plan now, they may end up scrambling to try to incorporate 4-5 transactions all at once.

3. Bring data up to date

CFOs and sponsors agree completely/strongly that CFOs are performing to private equity team’s expectations in terms of ensuring data identified/leveraged to inform actionable insights is clean and reliable.


A strong data and analytics foundation is increasingly table stakes for more informed CFO decision making. But sponsors and CFOs have wildly different views about the reliability of their data. 92% of CFOs, but only 65% of sponsors agree completely/strongly that data informing actionable insights is clean and reliable.





CFOs believe they’ve come a long way and in an economic environment with a slower deal flow, some have undoubtedly made progress on closing the books and reconciling financial data. But sponsors want more. They are still looking for trusted data that can lead to meaningful insights into performance.


Key Contacts

Nick Leopard
Nick Leopard
CEO & Founder

Nick is the CEO & Founder of Accordion, a private equity-focused financial and technology consulting firm. Since founding Accordion in 2009, Nick has grown the company to serve more than 300 of the world’s premier private equity firms and their portfolio companies – providing services that span the entire CFO function.  Read more

Atul Aggarwal
Atul Aggarwal

Atul became the President of Accordion in 2019. He joined Accordion from Bain & Company, where he was a Partner in the New York office. During his 20-year career at Bain, Atul worked for both corporate and Private Equity clients.   Read more

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