Chief Financial Officers


Exploring this Job

Check out professional journals such as CFO ( and Financial Executive ( to learn more about the work of chief financial officers. You can learn more about financial issues by reading publications such as Barron’s (, the Wall Street Journal (, Forbes (, Bloomberg Businessweek (, Fortune (, and Financial Times ( (Note: Certain sections of these publications online may be available only to subscribers.)

Volunteer to manage the finances of a school club or volunteer organization, or try to land a part-time job at a bank or in the accounting department of a local company. If you can’t find a volunteer opportunity or land a job, at least try to schedule a meeting with a chief financial officer to talk with him or her about the career. Many CFOs are happy to discuss their careers and offer advice on breaking into the field. 

The Job

The chief financial officer (CFO) is the top financial officer in an organization. CFOs are considered the “financial architects” of their organizations. At larger companies, the CFO may oversee financial management departments, helping other managers develop financial and economic policy and monitoring the implementation of these policies. They take a more "big picture" approach to financial issues at their companies, and are assisted by a large staff. In small firms, the CFO is usually responsible for all financial management tasks, such as budgeting, capital expenditure planning, tracking cash flow, and preparing various financial reviews and reports. The CFO reports to the president, chief operating officer, or chief executive officer. Major duties of CFOs include:

  • managing compliance and regulatory issues (meaning that they are responsible—and accountable—for the accuracy of the financial reporting issued by their organizations, especially if the company is publicly traded)
  • establishing and maintaining financial records systems in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and accounting principles
  • reviewing and evaluating company or organization contracts and other financial documents, strategic alliances, acquisition or merger activities, and risk management policies
  • monitoring, evaluating, and improving their employer’s internal accounting controls
  • turning accounting data into meaningful metrics that can be used by their employer to save money or manage assets more effectively
  • formulating and implementing strategies regarding the use of accounting/financial management software and other technologies
  • developing and mentoring their financial teams
  • providing support to all financial departments
  • developing short- and long-term financial plans for their organizations