What is a Chief Financial Officer?
A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a senior executive in companies, responsible for overlooking financial matters. In any company, a CFO is the highest rank figure in finance. Usually, CFOs are professionals with an understanding of financial matters and who can resolve any related issues. They also handle strategic-level financial decisions while delegating smaller tasks to others within the finance department.
Chief Financial Officers usually include highly-qualified individuals who understand various aspects of finances. For example, they may include Master of Business Administration graduates or members of professional accounting bodies, such as CPA, CFA, Chartered Accountants, etc. Chief Financial Officers are also a director on the board of directors.
CFOs usually report to Chief Executive Officers and the board of directors only. However, this is only one of the duties they perform. Apart from this, CFOs are also responsible for many other finance-related tasks in a company.
What does a Chief Financial Officer do?
The duties and responsibilities of a CFO in a company will differ according to the company’s requirements. Similarly, they may undertake some tasks while delegating others to junior-level staff. However, a typical Chief Financial Officer’s duties include the following.
Reporting is the most crucial responsibility that CFOs perform. As mentioned, they are responsible for reporting performance to the CEO and board of directors. However, that is not all they do in this process. Chief Financial Officers are also responsible for preparing financial reports to report various aspects of a company. Almost every stakeholder a company has will be interested in the financial aspects reported in these statements.
CFOs are also responsible for managing the overall finances of a company. These may include overlooking its capital structure and how it obtains finances. Similarly, it includes managing its liquidity through working capital and cash management. In this role, CFOs are also responsible for overlooking the decision-making process related to new investments and projects.
Being on the highest level of a company’s finance structure, CFOs are also responsible for strategic decision-making. Although most decisions go through the CEO, CFOs still play a significant role in them. Similarly, they influence the future direction that companies take with their finances. CFOs are also responsible for aligning a company’s finances with its strategies and facilitating growth.
CFOs are also responsible for risk management within a company. Each company will have its own risks due to its nature. These risks come with significant damages that can impact a company’s business and its finances. Identifying and reacting to these risks is crucial for any company. The CFO assumes the responsibility for identifying these risks and mitigating them promptly.
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Every company has to comply with various rules and regulations. If they fail to do so, they may face penalties and legal action. The CFO is responsible for identifying all applicable regulations and ensuring compliance. Similarly, CFOs are also responsible for compliance with all financial and tax rules relevant to the company.
A company’s CEO is responsible for shaping the direction for the future. Due to this, they may make various decisions that they think will lead to long-term success. During this process, the CFO also plays a significant role. CFOs advise CEOs on how their plans can affect a company’s finances. Likewise, the CFO is responsible for handling the finances for ensuring the strategies succeed.
Chief Financial Officers are the ultimate finance authority figure in a company. These are individuals who have a high level of financial knowledge and skills. CFOs are responsible for overlooking a company’s finances. Due to this, they may have various duties, as mentioned above.