The CFO of Home Depot shares her best financial advice -- and it isn't about money at all

Financial success isn’t always about the money. Home Depot CFO Carol Tomé makes a good argument for why finance know-how is second to strong communication skills.

Tomé, who oversees Home Depot’s $US83 billion in annual revenue, is considered one of the best CFOs in America. In 2012, Fortune magazine named her one of the most powerful women in business, and The Wall Street Journal ranked her as the second-best CFO in the US.

With that type of financial savvy, you’d think her best piece of financial advice would be based around balance sheets and general money management.

On the contrary, a wake-up call on her first day on the job made her realise that communication is the tool that drives financial understanding.

“During my first presentation to investors as Home Depot’s CFO, an investor on the front row fell asleep,” Tomé told Business Insider
. “He wasn’t fighting nodding off… he didn’t close his eyes for just a second… he didn’t have a glazed look in his eyes. He fell asleep and fell off his chair.”

Tomé said she immediately realised that communication needed to be a priority at work-related functions.

“You can know the numbers and the strategies behind them better than anyone, but if you can’t communicate well and tell your company’s story in a way that engages the investor and analyst community, you are toast,” she said.

“I vowed from that moment on to become a master of connecting with my audience, and it’s something I push my direct reports to do as well.”

NOW WATCH: ‘Shark Tank’ investor explains how to make a great first impression

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.