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How to Become a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Career News August 23, 2013

You don’t have to take risks to make lots of money in a long-lasting career. However, you do have to provide value. The skills and discipline of a CFO, or Chief Financial Officer, are indeed truly valuable to a company that is trying to stay profitable. It sounds like a job you might find at the end of a long and illustrious career, right? Actually, it can be within your grasp with some commitment and some time.

What Does a CFO Do?

A CFO has major responsibilities to the company he or she is employed by, including controllership duties, which involve presenting and reporting accurate financial information. You’re not just creating and editing records like a CPA—you’re actually responsible to the shareholders, creditors, employees and analysts. Decisions involving the entire company are made based on the information that the CFO provides.

The CFO also has treasury responsibilities, which means he or she is responsible for the financial condition of the company. This executive will decide how to invest the company’s money, and will oversee capital structure, equity, financing and other issues. Thirdly, the CFO must be active on forecasting and developing strategy for a good business economy. You might even say the whole future of the company is riding on major decisions influenced or ordered by the Chief Financial Officer.

How Do You Become a CFO?

A Chief Financial Officer must not only be skilled as a student of finance, but also have a broad range of knowledge that will help a company’s planning stages. CFOs are expected to understand accounting practices, business strategy, investor point-of-view and technology. Corporate experience is also required since this is where you will be involved, and treasurer or controller experience in particular is essential.

Certified Public Accountants do sometimes move up to CFO positions, since they have experience in presenting and collecting financial information. However, the big business environment is important since you will be positioning yourself as a major team builder, one who can delegate, encourage others, and deal with all business departments.

College Training

While you could take a course for CPA or business, some colleges actually offer CFO leadership training as a degree or certification. Subjects in this training course might focus on information technology, policies, security, transformation, management, and of course, heavy financial training. You can start learning at a bachelor’s degree level and work your way up to a master’s degree or even a doctorate in a related field.

This is a high-paying career option, considering that even small companies will pay CFOs $100,000 to $200,000 per year, while larger corporations can pay three to ten times that figure. If this kind of responsibility and pay interests you then the primary focus right now should be learning business administration, finance theory, economics or perhaps even subfield training, such as medicine or education. While it is possible for a lower level executive to be promoted to a high ranking position, more and more companies requesting strong analytical and communicative skills, not to mention a thorough understanding of complex financial data. This is what college training can do for you—give you the extra edge!

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  • I am graduating from high school and am interested in pursuing a career in a business field, but I first need the skills experience.
  • I am interested in a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree in my specialized business area of focus.
  • I want flexible course offerings, such as the option of 100% online, evening or campus classes.
  • I need a university that provides quality educational offerings through academic excellence and real-world relevance. Does this sound like you? Apply today!
Good for Working Adults
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  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Topped the list as Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report in 2019.
  • Regent is ranked among Top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, 2019.
  • Flexible online, on-campus and evening courses offered in 135 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Regent is recognized among Top #10 Military Friendly Schools by Military Friendly®, 2019.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $24 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid in 2017-18.
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5 Program(s) Found
  • Boldly pursue your future in business with an online degree from Post University
  • Degrees at all levels with concentrations in Finance, Marketing, and much more
  • Ranked in the Best Online Bachelors Programs for Veterans by US News & World Report
  • Ranked in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the US News & World Report
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Separate yourself from the pack by completing one of Saint Leo’s highly-rated Business degree programs. Associates, Bachelors, and Graduate degrees in highly sought-after concentrations available!
  • Learn the necessary skills and build the foundation to propel your business career by receiving an education from our faculty members with true real-world experience.
  • Saint Leo University provides academic excellence, flexibility, affordability, and a wide range of educational programs with financial aid and scholarships available to those who qualify.
  • Saint Leo offers a 14:1 Student-Teacher Ratio to ensure you get the personal attention you deserve.
  • Learn on your schedule with our 6 convenient available start dates throughout the year. Get started on earning your accredited Business degree today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Find Online Schools. 100% Online Accredited Courses
  • Get Matched to Programs In A Few Clicks!
  • Earn an Affordable Degree from Home at your own pace
  • Get College info today. Its Free and Easy!
  • Online Courses

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