Chief Financial Officers


Employment Prospects


Many chief financial officers (CFOs) are employed by corporations and other businesses, but others work for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large cities and metropolitan areas.

Starting Out

You will need to obtain at least five, but more often 10 or more, years of experience in lower level positions such as financial analyst, chief accountant, treasurer, or controller to become qualified for the position of CFO. To learn about job openings, use the resources of your college’s career services office, network at job fairs and on social media, and visit the job boards of the following professional associations: 

  • American Accounting Association:
  • Association for Financial Professionals:
  • Institute of Management Accountants:
  • Association of Government Accountants:

Many CFOs begin their careers as general accountants. The Career Guidance section ( of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Web site is a good place for aspiring accountants to visit. It offers detailed information on accounting careers, hiring trends, job search strategies, resumes and cover letters, and job interviews. The section also lists internship opportunities for students.

Those interested in positions with federal agencies should visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's website,

Advancement Prospects

Chief financial officers are the top financial executives at their companies, and this career ranks among the highest positions at a company. As a result, advancement opportunities are somewhat limited. Some CFOs advance to the position of chief operating officer or chief executive officer, or they are appointed to their company’s board of directors. Others advance by receiving higher salaries and bonuses or by moving on to work for larger or more prestigious employers. 

Tips for Entry

Read publications such as CFO ( and Financial Executive ( to learn more about the field.

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:


Attend industry events such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ CFO Conference to network and to interview for jobs.

Try to excel and gain experience in lower-level positions such as assistant financial officer, accountant, auditor, or financial analyst to increase your chances of being considered for management trainee programs sponsored by your employer.