CFO Chief Financial Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A CFO, or Chief Financial Officer, is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of a company and making decisions based on the company’s financial stability. Their duties include monitoring cash flow, meeting with the CEO to discuss the best practices for company finances and coming up with strategic plans to improve their company’s overall financial health./p>

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CFO duties and responsibilities

CFOs are responsible for managing the financial decisions of a company or organization. They often have the following responsibilities:

  • Executing the company’s financial strategy
  • Developing plans for growth to increase company profit while also reducing expenditure
  • Identifying investment opportunities and managing mergers and acquisitions
  • Assisting the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to develop financial plans
  • Managing accounting procedures

What does a CFO do?

CFOs typically work for corporations across a variety of industries to provide financial direction to preserve the future of the company. They work closely with the CEO to review quarterly financial reports, identify investment opportunities and implement budgeting initiatives company-wide. Their job is to use their experience in business development and financial planning to increase revenue and pay off liabilities. They may also be responsible for writing the company’s annual financial report for shareholders and potential investors to review.

CFO skills and qualifications

CFOs use various skills and industry knowledge to effectively complete the duties for this role/ These skills can include:

  • Decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills with the ability to delegate, motivate and inspire team members
  • Honesty and integrity 
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to manage time effectively 

CFO salary expectations

A CFO makes an average of $136,434 per year. Salary may depend on a candidate’s education, experience level and geographical location.

CFO education and training requirements

For this executive role, most employers expect candidates to have a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or a similar field. However, many employers prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Training requirements for this position are usually obtained through a combination of formal education and work experience. To be promoted to a CFO, candidates should first hold a Senior Financial Manager position where they can demonstrate extensive experience in this role. Although certifications aren’t typically a prerequisite to becoming a CFO, they provide evidence of knowledge in the field. Examples of helpful certifications include Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

CFO experience requirements

CFOs should demonstrate strong evidence of working in a financial leadership role. Candidates can work up to this level by starting out in an entry-level or associate position in a finance or accounting department. Example positions include a Financial Analyst or Junior Accountant. Once experienced, candidates then move into a financial management position. CFO candidates should have extensive experience in a leadership role with a proven ability to manage large-scale projects and oversee the long-term goals of a company.

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Frequently asked questions about CFOs

 

What is the difference between a CFO and a Controller?

The difference between a CFO and a Controller is that CFOs have more seniority and a broader scope of job responsibilities. For example, CFOs oversee all of a company’s finances to determine short and long-term strategies to increase cash flow and pay off debts. In contrast, the Controller is in charge of the accounting department and reviews financial statements and calculations to check for errors. They may also help compile financial reports using accounting data.

 

What are the daily duties of a CFO?

On an average day, a CFO starts by checking their email and reviewing their tasks for the day. They review financial data on balance sheets and income statements to determine accounts receivable and payable. Throughout the day, they meet with the CEO and other company officials to discuss the current financial status of the company and how to proceed. During downtime in their office, they write reports, check on stocks and strategize about how to promote the company’s capital structure by liquidating assets and other methods. 

They also take this time to review the company budget and make adjustments based on department needs.

 

What makes a good CFO?

A good CFO is someone who uses their financial expertise and analytic thinking to accurately evaluate a company’s financial health. They should also have a creative mindset that enables them to come up with innovative solutions to capital structure and budgeting limitations. A good CFO should also be an excellent communicator as they need to write reports, give presentations and provide suggestions about company finances. 

Because they have access to financial records and account information, CFOs should exercise discretion when talking about work-related matters outside the office and with unauthorized personnel. This protects the company from fraudulent activities.

 

Who does a CFO report to?

Although CFOs perform an executive role, they typically report to the more senior executive called the CEO or Chief Executive Officer of a company. CFOs usually refer to the CEO to get permission to invest in stock on behalf of the company, restructure finances or make changes to the company budget.

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