The job of a CFO is probably one of the most flexible ones and varies greatly from one organization to another.
The duties and workload of a CFO are greatly dependent on the size and complexity of a company’s program, revenue sources, and the size of the company itself.
For example, tasks performed by a CFO of a small start-up company would seem completely minor in a bigger private company.
However, general responsibilities are the same in companies of all types and sizes.
They are mostly built around finance and reporting.
Additionally, CFOs in smaller companies may deal with management, functional, and programmatic tasks.
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What Does a CFO Do
Essentially, CFO is responsible for all financial, risk management, and administrative operations.
The duties include developing financial and operational strategies as well as coordinating them.
CFOs also monitor the control systems development which should preserve the assets of the company.
They also prepare accurate reports on financial results and predictions.
Mostly, a CFO works in an office setting.
The CFOs of large companies will also have to travel a lot.
Usually, they travel to the subsidiaries of the companies and occasionally to investor presentations.
Also, to perform various financial operations, CFOs have to move around the city a lot.
As stated earlier, the duties of a CFO depend on the size and industry of the company.
Therefore, the responsibilities of a CFO in a bank will be different from those of a CFO at, say, a hospital.
The duties of both of them will also be greatly different from the responsibilities of a start-up company CFO.
- Providing leadership.
- Helping develop short- and long-term strategic financial objectives.
- Ensuring that the finance group is trustworthy.
- Accurately analyze budgets, forecasts, and financial trends in a timely manner.
- Implementing, developing and maintaining an all-encompassing job cost system.
- Directing and monitoring the Finance and Accounting and improving financial performance.
- Assessing long-term plans and creating new strategies and programs.
- Determining the needs of executives and giving financial advice to the CEO.
- Managing budgets and financial forecasting.
- Reporting to the company and providing recommendations regarding business opportunities.
- Making sure that the internal controls operate right and are in place.
- Ensuring that the company complies with GAAP and state and local laws and regulations.
CFOs need excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
They should know how to listen, understand and interact with employees’ questions and suggestions.
CFOs have to have sound judgment when it comes to making decisions for the company’s interests.
They should be based on a precise analysis.
Problem-solving skills are essential for this position.
CFO has to be able to communicate at levels of the organization.
They need to know how to manage staff, for example, in remote locations.
CFOs need to be extremely knowledgeable in business and have creative skills.
They should also be proficient in computers and general IT.
To succeed in their job, a CFO has to be result-oriented.
How to Become a CFO
A CFO needs solid experience and extensive education to be viable for the position.
Besides, they need a range of personal qualities.
Some of them may be determined by a specific company while others are essential for any candidate for the CFO position.
Additionally, depending on the company, CFO may be required to be proficient in languages.
In a smaller company with a small number of employees, the CFO can also operate as a controller.
Training and Qualifications
There are multiple requirements for an ideal CFO that can be acquired with extensive educational and professional background.
First of all, they need a master’s degree or a bachelor’s of arts in accounting, finance, or business administration.
Certifications such as CPA (certified public accountant), MBA (Master of Business Administration), or CMA (certified management accountant) can be a huge plus.
Another vital requirement for CFOs is at least 10 years of experience in financial leadership roles in property management.
The areas include real estate, major companies, or a big department in a large corporation.
Companies that are involved in a specific industry may require the CFO to be experienced in this industry as well, with the background of at least two years.
As stated, the minimal work experience of a CFO is at least ten years.
Additionally, the experience in the same industry the company operates in or a very similar one is required.
The required experience can differ from one employer to another though
In a small start-up, the CFO may not be required to have so many years of experience as long as they are trustworthy and possess the necessary skills.
In older companies, there may be a deputy CFO position available if the candidate is right for it.
Quite frequently, CFOs have to work long hours due to multiple deadlines and large workloads.
However, similar to other aspects of the job, the hours can change and shift around depending on the company and season.
Typically, during a regular day, CFOs can have long lunches and leave work early.
In this case, the regular workweek comprises 35 to 40 hours.
Although, as the tax season approaches, or large-scale projects are taking place, the CFOs may have to work from 45 to 65 hours a week.
The career outlook of a CFO is favorable in any case.
They don’t belong to only one specific industry, so no particular employment predictions can be done.
However, this position is crucial for any company and at the same time, more and more companies are being opened.
Therefore, it looks like the demand for CFOs will only increase.
Besides, the position of a CFO can be very sought-after with a decent salary and other benefits.
As reported by PayScale, the median salary of a CFO is $127,564 annually.
Besides, they are eligible for profit sharing, bonuses, and commissions.
With more experience, CFOs can make as much as $250,000 per year.
The work of a CFO is one of the most demanding and complex.
However, with a huge workload and multiple responsibilities, they are also very well paid.