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Chief Financial Officer

Career Overview

CFO or Chief Financial Officer is the highest ranking position in the financial world in any organization whether in high tech or healthcare, manufacturing or marketing. As a CFO, you are responsible for the financial well-being of your organization which includes the day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities of the company. In smaller organizations they usually wears many hats and takes responsibility for a broader span of functional areas such as human resources, information technology, legal, and facilities. Whereas in larger organizations, the CFO focuses strictly on finance, accounting and the investment activities of the organization. Most experienced CPAs (Certified Public Accountant) aspire to become CFOs in industry. Although the number of positions are limited and competition is intense, the fact remains that there are opportunities for professional advancement and salaries are very competitive. The CFO of an organization works very closely with the COO or Chief Operating Officer and reports on all strategic matters pertaining to cost benefit analysis, forecasting needs, securing new funding, and budget management. As a CFO one has to ensure the CEO and board's decisions are financially sound, both in regard to resources available and regulatory compliance therefore having solid financial experience makes you more apt while pursuing a career as CFO.The CFO for his pivotal position in a company plays a critical and evolving role in today's changed business environment. Some of the broad responsibilities of a CFO are:

  • Contributing to the effective corporate management of the organization, including strategy implementation, cross organizational issues, integrated business and resource planning, risk management and performance management.
  • Supporting effective governance through corporate governance arrangements, risk management and corporate decision making arrangements
  • Promoting change programs within the organization and implement best practice in change management and leadership.
  • Leading development of a medium term financial strategy and the annual budgeting process to ensure financial balance and a monitoring process to ensure its delivery.
  • Build robust relationships both internally and externally.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs
Projected Growth Rate

Chief financial officers are among the most important positions within a company who ensure that the entire organization meets its financial responsibilities according to established objectives and keep the business running efficiently. Therefore as a financial manager they hold tremendous responsibility for the financial well-being of the organization. Opportunities for career advancement, leadership and personal satisfaction are the most important factors for the bright job outlook for CFO. Companies are on the lookout for well qualified and experienced CFOs with the primary aim to ensure profit and minimize losses. Though the number of job openings is expected to be fewer than the number of applicants for the tough competition candidates with a master's degree or MBA should enjoy the best job prospects.Compensations are based on the size and type of company, as well as its location and personal experience and qualification. The average annual salary of chief financial officers ranges from INR 20 lacs to 25 lacs p.a.

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
C.P.A. M.B.A.

Most CFOs are required to hold current CPA certification. You may also consider attaining a degree that places primacy on management. Because the CFO often manages information systems as well as working with human resources, acquiring management skills can play an integral role in helping a CFO establish and accomplish company goals. Enrolling in an MBA school that includes managerial economics, international business, financial management, production and business management is beneficial.In addition to attaining a college degree, it is also advantageous for prospective CFOs to take on leadership positions in their schools and/or communities that enhance decision-making skills and facilitate the process of preparatory training.

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Valued Traits & Abilities

Leadership Skills
Detail Oriented
Communication Skills
Quantitative Abilities
Analytical Skills
Teamwork Skills

Career Opportunities

Chief financial officers (CFOs) play an integral role in maintaining the financial health of corporations and businesses according to the demands of the economy. CFO can become the trusted advisor and confidant to the CEO in creating and executing strategic growth initiatives for the organization. A large percentage of employees in this profession work in finance and insurance companies. Although competition for jobs in this field is usually very high, candidates with the highest-possible educational background, and added certification and specialty skills, are always in demand with potential employers.

Finance Director

Oversees all financial functions including accounting, budget, credit, insurance, tax, and treasury. He reports to top management and represents the 2nd most senior finance executive in an organization.

Chief Accounting Officer

He is typically responsible for overseeing all aspects of an organization's accounting function such as regulatory compliance with accounting standards and practices as well as developing financial strategies for the company. He may set and enforce accounting policy and develop best practices throughout the organization.

Controller

He is responsible for directing an organization's accounting functions such as maintaining the organization's accounting principles, practices, procedures, and initiatives. He prepares and presents findings and recommendations to top management and reports to top financial officer or CEO.

Top Companies

  • Deloitte
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • CRISIL
  • ICICI Bank ltd
  • Ocwen Financial solutions
  • Credit Suisse
  • KPMG India