All financial operations are crucial to the functioning of any organization. CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is the corporate title for the person responsible for managing the company’s financial operations and strategy. What does a CFO do? We will respond to this question in the following article.
What does a CFO do? – table of contents:
- What does a CFO mean?
- What does a CFO do?
- Duties of a CFO
- CFO roles and responsibilities
- CFO qualifications and skills
What does a CFO mean?
A chief financial officer (CFO) is the person responsible for managing the organization’s finances. It is the most important position in the company after the CEO. The CFO is responsible for the financial operations of the company. This includes responsibility for internal and external financial reporting, asset and cash management.
What does a CFO do?
The company’s CFO has a primary responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and leading all of the company’s financial activities, including business planning, budgeting, forecasting and negotiations. They are also responsible for attracting and maintaining investor relations and sticking to partnership principles.
Duties of a CFO
What does a CFO do? Responsibilities of the CFO can’t be put in the rigid framework. CFOs are accountable for all activities related to company’s finances. They oversee both small expenses, e.g. in the marketing department, and key investments for the company.
Key duties of the CFO include:
- providing leadership, direction and management of the finance and accounting team,
- communicating strategic recommendations on company finances to the CEO and members of the executive and management team,
- managing financial forecasting processes,
- overseeing budgets and all financial reporting,
- counselling on long-term business and financial planning,
- maintaining relationships with senior management, external partners and stakeholders,
- reviewing all formal procedures related to finances,
- leading finance departments,
- identifying and responding to potential risks within the company,
- implementing strategies and systems to improve financial performance,
- identifying methods to reduce costs.
CFO roles and responsibilities
Since CFOs oversee the finances of the entire company, their responsibility is enormous. Their tasks are central to the company’s mission. As it has been mentioned before, CFOs are responsible for internal and external financial reporting, as well as asset and cash management.
The CFO’s responsibilities are not limited to working with figures. They consult activities of all company departments every day. It is often their decision to suspend certain processes or to reduce jobs. A financial analysis is only a tool for them to make important decisions for the company.
CFO qualifications and skills
The CFO should possess certain skills and qualifications to exercise their powers properly and to ensure the company’s development.
Skills the CFO should have:
- Problem-solving skills – The CFO must continoulsy make decisions that are important to the organization on a smaller and larger scale. CFOs strive to solve problems in the ways that bring benefits to the company. In order to do this, they must know the organization very well, its resources, and its data, which allows them to create a plan to ensure the company’s growth and success.
- Leadership skills and strategic vision – The CFO should take a detached and objective approach to the assigned tasks in order to come up with a strategic solution. They can’t rely on their analytical skills only. They must see the bigger picture and be able to convince others of certain issues.
- Competences in management, financial accounting and corporate finance – Practical cash management skills and the ability to oversee the finance function are crucial to CFOs. For this reason, accountants and other people with a strictly economic background often hold such a position. A degree in economics provides a better understanding of financial processes.
- Strong work ethic – The CFO’s responsibilities are quite extensive. They have to be ready to work several hours a day. As they work with numbers, they must stay concetrated all the time. Morover, they need to possess soft skills, communication skills and the ability to work in a team.
- Reliability – The CFO should be able to work under time pressure so that good decisions can be made even if the spectrum of data is incomplete. An effective CFO has an open mind and is ready to accept change, but is also able to lead change effectively in order to improve the company’s situation.
What does a CFO do? – summary
What does a CFO do? The CFO is an essential and responsible role in the structure of the whole organization. It is not limited to analyzing documents and working with numbers. CFOs must strive to have control over all information about the company processes, know the internal and external environment of the organization, and keep track of competitors’ activities.
The most important questions
What does CFO stand for?
It stands for a Chief Financial Officer.
What does a CFO do?
The CFO is responsible for forecasting the company's financial position based on financial and operational data, as well as reports provided by the finance and accounting teams. The CFO also provides advice on strategic planning to members of the executive and management teams.
Is the CFO's job limited to analyzing documents and reports?
No. CFO's activities are not limited to working with figures. They also make coaching and mentoringa a big priority through all levels of the finance organization. A financial analysis is just a tool for them to make important decisions for the company.