Perhaps one of most flexible jobs out there, the CFO job description varies greatly across organizations. Depending on the budget size and the complexity of each company’s programs, on its revenue sources, and even on the size of the company, the job description of a CFO, as well as his duties and responsibilities can be widely different.
For example, a small start-up company will have a chief financial officer involved in many tasks that would be seen as menial in a bigger private company. However, the base responsibilities will remain pretty much the same across all company types and sizes – primarily finance and reporting. Additional tasks seen by CFOs of smaller companies usually include management, functional, and programmatic responsibilities.
Job Overview: What Does a CFO Professional Do?
At the very core of its functions, the CFO job description requires the employee to be accountable for all the financial, risk management, and administrative operations. This includes the development of operational and financial strategies for the company, as well as coordinating said strategies.
What the CFO also does is continuously monitor the development of control systems meant to preserve the company’s assets. As well as reporting extremely accurate financial results and predictions. Most of the job takes place in an office environment.
Although the CFOs of larger companies can expect extensive travel times. This usually happens because CFOs have to travel to company subsidiaries and the occasional investor presentation. Additionally, the CFO has to travel a lot, at least around the city, for all the financial operations.
CFO Job Duties
As mentioned before, the CFO roles and responsibilities depend on the size, industry, and scope of the company. So, the CFO of a bank will have a number of different responsibilities than the CFO of a hospital. And they will both have different responsibilities than the assistant CFO of a small startup business, for example.
- Providing leadership.
- Helping the development of both short-term and long-term strategic financial objectives.
- Ensuring the credibility of the finance group.
- Providing accurate budget analyses on time, financial trends and forecasts.
- Implementing, developing and maintaining an all-encompassing job cost system.
- Directing, overseeing all aspects of Finance and Accounting, and enhancing the overall financial performance.
- Evaluating long-term plans and introducing new programs and strategies.
- Identifying the needs of senior executives and offering financial advice to the chief executive officer.
- Managing financial forecasting processes and budgets.
- Reporting to the company and providing recommendations regarding business opportunities.
- Ensuring that the appropriate internal controls are in place.
- Ensuring compliance with GAAP and the applicable regulatory state and local laws.
CFO Job Essential Skills
Interpersonal Skills. A CFO has to have strong interpersonal skills. He must be proficient in communication. Therefore, he must know how to listen, understand and answer employees’ suggestions and questions.
Problem-solving Skills. This professional must have very sound judgment when making decisions for the company. The decisions must be based accurate analyses. Strong problem-solving skills are also mandatory for the job.
Management Skills. The chief financial officer job description entails the ability to communicate at levels of the organization. This professional also has to have the ability to manage the staff, for example, to manage essential staff in remote locations.
Field Knowledge. The person for this job must possess extensive knowledge of the business and also strong creative skills. PC and general IT proficiency are required as well. He needs to have an orientation towards results in order to be able to fulfill the job properly.
Becoming a CFO Professional
Aside from the large amounts of experience and the high education needed to even be viable for the chief financial officer job description, there are a number of personal qualities which the ideal employee must have. Some of these may optional depending on the company, but others are a must-have for any potential CFOs that are good at their jobs.
Also, depending on each company, a language requirement could also be a huge part of the interview process for the CFO job description. If the company is small enough and has a reduced number of employees, it’s a common occurrence for the CFO to also take on the role of the controller.
Qualifications and Training
The requirements for the ideal chief financial officer candidate are extensive and have to be acquired over a long and arduous educational and professional background. First and foremost, a master’s degree or a bachelor of the arts degree in accounting, business administration, or finance is required. A CPA (certified public accountant), MBA (Master of Business Administration), or CMA (certified management accountant) are also a huge bonus.
Another huge requirement is for the candidates to have at least ten years of experience in progressively more responsible financial leadership roles in property management: real estate development; a major enough company; or an important division of a large corporation.
For companies that operate more in industries that require a specialized knowledge of accounting, a different requirement is very likely to arise – experience in the industry of at least two years. Those interested can read a CFO job description pdf sample resume.
As mentioned before, the minimum necessary work experience needed for most CFO positions is at least ten years. Plus, the experience has to be in a workplace pertaining to the same industry, or at least a very similar one to the industry to which the position currently in need of occupation belongs. This can make it quite difficult to gain the necessary ten years.
However, this also depends from company to company. A small startup business could very well employ a less experienced CFO as long as they trust the person to have the necessary skills and experience. And an older company could promote a deputy CFO to the position if they know they’re the right candidate for the job.
Because of the increased number of deadlines and larger workloads, many CFOs find themselves overwhelmed by the long work hours. However, just like with everything about the CFO job description, the working hours shift around a lot and vary greatly both from company to company and from season to season.
A regular day can see most CFOs having long lunches and even able to leave work early at times. Under these circumstances, the usual work week consists of about 35 to 40 hours. However, when the tax season rolls along, or when a particularly large-scale program has to be implemented, CFOs can expect 45 to 65-hour work weeks.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Of course, the job outlook for anyone with the CFO job description is very favorable. Since they don’t really fit into a single industry, there aren’t any employment predictions for the position. However, since the position is vital for any company, and since more and more companies are starting to be born, it looks like the job market will only see an influx of CFO openings.
Plus, the large chief financial officer salary and other benefits make the CFO position very desirable. According to Payscale, the median chief financial officer salary is around $127,564 per year. Add to this all the bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions. An experienced chief financial officer could potentially cash in around $250,000 a year.
Extremely well paid, but with enough responsibilities to make that pay seem completely fitting the workload, the CFO job description is perhaps one of the most complex and demanding out there. We hope we’ve helped you understand what a CFO does, and please leave any related comments below.