A Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, is one of the most important roles within a company’s hierarchy. In fact, short of the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), the CFO is usually the second-in-command, the one who maintains control over the accounting department. The CFO works with budgeting, financial reporting, auditing, and ensures the company stays legally compliant. It’s not only a job of numbers, but also one of financial strategy.
CFO Job Duties
If you are interested in working as a CFO, know right now that it is a job that requires critical attention to detail since you will be requested to make projections, forecasts, and ensure it is all manageable by all departments of the company. It’s not just that you’re a reporter, but you’re an expert, the one the company trusts to handle all investments and liabilities.
You will only report to the CEO. The CEO handles strategy outside of the numbers in a leadership role; however, you are the one in charge of telling and guiding the financial story. You have controllership duties, as well as the obligation of reporting to shareholders, creditors and other positions of similar authority. Occasionally, timeliness is paramount to getting a message across accurately. Promptness is a prerequisite.
Details of the Daily Work
Of course, much of the work will depend on what organization you join. The size of the budget, as well as the complexity of the company’s mission and score, will partly determine your role. When funding sources are limited, this presents a different challenge, compared to a private company that can spend an indefinite amount but requires an efficient business plan.
As a company expands, you will have to delegate authority, and this is where managerial know-how becomes crucial. When you work on government contracts, your priority is to meet the specific criteria the government provides, as well as respecting all laws.
You will be working with multiple personnel, including the CEO and the executive director. You will spend much time monitoring the corporate strategy and evaluating the data as in pertains to company direction. You have to consider shareholder value, working capital, and total efficiency of the company. Naturally, one of the first issues applicants are asked about is the significant financial insight they have since this is closely linked with executing a plan of action.
You are, in other words, an advisor and will work with the executive team in making day to day decisions. Under your watch are important areas of evaluation such as cash flows, equity value, internal control processes, and overseeing the annual budget.
While this isn’t a technical job per se, you must manage IT workers and should be familiar with the latest IT technology, as well as strategy, architecture and security. You are also in charge of hiring and maintaining the best A-quality workers for your business. You are the coach, the developer, and the manager, who must evaluate all investments, including employees.
Yes, working as a CFO is a challenge; however, if you are driven and ready to learn at UMD, UCLA, George Washington University, University of Miami, or another college of your choice; you will find that a CFO role is huge, and will catapult you into the big world of business, of negotiations, of profit and loss, and of a huge salary!