The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is vital to any organisation’s success. Hiring an inappropriate candidate for a CFO position may result in financial disaster for the organisation. Therefore, as a recruiter or hiring manager, it is crucial to understand the CFO job description in detail before hiring.
A comprehensive job description includes the roles, responsibilities, reporting lines, technical and soft skills, stakeholders’ expectations, and the CFO’s perks and benefits. In this article, we will explore the CFO profile and position within the organisation and provide an example of a CFO job description template to assist you in finding the perfect candidate.
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The Chief Financial Officer Profile and Key Responsibilities
The CFO holds a strategic position within an organisation. They play a crucial role in financial decision-making, driving the company’s financial growth and ensuring fiscal stability. CFOs are qualified accountants with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in accounts and finance with related certifications such as Chartered Accountants (ACA) or Certified Public Accountants (CPA).
Companies require different ranges and types of experience for the Chief Financial Officer position according to size, industry and geographical location. Generally, CFOs have an experience of 10-15 years with at least some years of experience in leadership roles. Following are some of the CFO’s responsibilities:
- Financial Planning and Analysis. The CFOs are responsible for creating and executing financial plans, analysing financial data, and providing insights and recommendations to drive profitability and growth. They assess investment opportunities, evaluate potential risks, and advise on capital allocation.
- Risk Management and Compliance. The CFOs are pivotal in managing financial risks, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks, and implementing internal controls. They oversee audits, maintain accurate financial records, and safeguard the organisation’s assets.
- Strategic Decision-Making. The CFO is a strategic partner to the CEO and executive team, contributing financial expertise to business decisions. They assess the financial feasibility of new initiatives, mergers and acquisitions, and capital investments, considering long-term sustainability and return on investment.
- Investor Relations and Fundraising. The Chief Financial Officers engage with investors, analysts, and stakeholders, presenting financial performance and growth plans. They participate in fundraising activities, including debt and equity financing, and build strong relationships with financial institutions and potential investors.
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The Positioning of Chief Financial Officer within an Organisation
The positioning of the Chief Financial Officer within an organisation can vary depending on the company’s structure and size. However, the Chief Financial Officer typically holds a strategic and influential position, is often considered a key executive team member, and collaborates closely with other senior executives to align financial strategies with business objectives. Let’s compare the positioning of the CFO with other executives in an organisation:
- CEO (Chief Executive Officer). The CEO is the highest-ranking executive in the organisation and is responsible for overall leadership and decision-making. The Chief Financial Officer works closely with the CEO, providing financial insights and recommendations to support the company’s strategic goals. The CFO often reports directly to the CEO and collaborates on financial strategies, risk management, and long-term planning.
- COO (Chief Operating Officer). The COO oversees the company’s day-to-day operations, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in various business functions. The Chief Financial Officer collaborates with the COO to align financial strategies with operational goals, providing financial analysis and guidance on resource allocation, cost management, and process improvement initiatives.
- CIO/CTO (Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officer). The CIO or CTO focuses on technology and information systems within the organisation. While the CFO primarily focuses on financial aspects, they may collaborate with the CIO/CTO to assess the financial implications of technology investments, data security, and IT infrastructure upgrades. This collaboration ensures that financial considerations are considered when making technology-related decisions.
- CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). The CMO is responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies to promote the company’s products or services. The CFO collaborates with the CMO to analyse the financial impact of marketing initiatives, budget allocation for marketing campaigns, and track the return on investment (ROI) of marketing spend.
- CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer). The CHRO oversees the organisation’s human resources functions, including talent acquisition, employee engagement, and performance management. The CFO may work with the CHRO to analyse and manage personnel-related costs, such as salaries, benefits, and training expenses, ensuring alignment with the company’s financial objectives.
While each executive plays a distinct role within the organisation, the CFO’s positioning is critical due to their financial expertise and influence on key business decisions. The Chief Financial Officer collaborates with other executives, offering financial insights and helping shape strategies that drive the company’s growth, profitability, and long-term financial sustainability.
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Vital Elements of CFO Job Description
It is essential to tailor the job description to the specific needs and requirements of the organisation, ensuring alignment with its goals, culture, and industry dynamics. The following are the key elements which should be considered while creating the CFO job description.
- Job Title. Clearly state the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to clarify and establish the role’s seniority.
- Overview and Purpose. Please provide a summary of the organisation and the purpose of the CFO role within it. Explain the importance of the CFO in driving financial strategy, ensuring financial stability, and supporting the achievement of business goals.
- Responsibilities and Duties. Clearly outline the responsibilities and duties the Chief Financial Officer will be accountable for. This may include financial management, strategic financial planning, financial reporting and compliance, risk management, stakeholder management and team leadership roles.
- Reporting Lines. Specify the reporting lines of the CFO, including whom they report to and who reports to them. This clarifies the hierarchical structure and the level of authority and influences the CFO holds within the organisation.
- Qualifications and Skills. Clearly state the required qualifications, skills, and experience for the role. This may include educational background, certifications, professional experience, and technical and soft skills.
- Stakeholder Expectations. Describe stakeholders’ expectations, including the executive team, board of directors, investors, and other relevant parties. Emphasise the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships, providing financial insights, and delivering accurate and timely financial information.
- Perks and Benefits. Mention specific perks and benefits offered to the CFO, such as competitive compensation packages, stock options, bonuses, healthcare plans, retirement benefits, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities.
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Example of CFO Job Description
Position: Chief Financial Officer
Location: [Company Location]
Reporting Line: Chief Executive Officer
Direct Reports: 8-12 employees, including Financial Controller, Finance Manager, Senior Accountant, and Accountant.
We seek an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to join our team. The CFO will oversee all accounting and finance functions, including financial reporting, budgeting, and internal controls. This role requires strong leadership skills, collaboration with cross-functional teams, and a deep understanding of accounting principles and regulations.
- Oversee and manage the organisation’s financial operations, including budgeting, forecasting, accounting, and cash flow management.
- Develop and implement financial strategies aligned with the company’s long-term goals and objectives.
- Provide financial analysis and recommendations to support critical business decisions.
- Monitor financial performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and financial reporting standards.
- Manage relationships with external stakeholders, including auditors, investors, and financial institutions.
- Lead and mentor the finance team, fostering a high-performance culture.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related subject. ACA or an MBA is preferred.
Proven track record of at least 15 years of experience in finance and accounting roles, with a minimum of 5 years in a leadership position.
- Strong knowledge of financial management software, accounting principles and standards, and financial reporting regulations.
- Proficient in financial analysis, budgeting, and forecasting techniques.
- Excellent leadership and team management skills.
- Exceptional communication and presentation abilities, with the capacity to convey complex financial information to financial and non-financial stakeholders.
- Strategic thinker who can analyse data, identify trends, and make sound business decisions.
- Experience in risk management, internal controls, and compliance procedures.
- Familiarity with financial systems and software for data analysis and reporting.
Perks & Benefits
- Competitive salary and performance-based bonuses
- Stock options and equity incentives
- Comprehensive health, dental, and vision insurance plans
- Retirement savings plan with employer-matching
- Generous vacation and paid time off
- Company car allowance or transportation reimbursement
Key Performance Indicators of CFO
While creating a complete job description for the role of CFO, it is crucial to keep in mind the outcomes which indicate the effectiveness of the CFO. The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important metrics that measure the performance and effectiveness of the CFOs in their role.
Following are some KPIs that provide a framework for evaluating the CFO’s performance in financial management, strategic decision-making, risk management, and stakeholder engagement. The specific KPIs may vary based on the organisation’s priorities and industry dynamics.
- Contribution to driving revenue growth and increasing the company’s financial performance.
- Ability to improve profit margins, control costs, and enhance overall financial profitability.
- Effectiveness in designing the capital structure and generating a positive return on capital deployed.
- Ability to develop accurate financial forecasts and manage budget variances effectively.
- The CFO’s financial forecasting accuracy compares projected financial outcomes to actual results.
- Proficiency in creating financial models and scenarios that support strategic decision-making.
- Success in optimising cash flow by reducing the time it takes to convert investments into cash inflows.
- Ability to manage working capital efficiently, including accounts receivable, inventory, and accounts payable.
- Effectiveness in ensuring the company’s adherence to financial and regulatory compliance standards.
- Ability to identify and mitigate financial risks, such as credit, market, and operational risks.
- Success in implementing and maintaining adequate internal control systems to safeguard company assets and prevent fraud.
- Ability to build and maintain strong relationships with investors, analysts, and other stakeholders.
- Success in maintaining favourable credit ratings from rating agencies can impact the company’s capital cost.
- Ability to provide accurate and timely financial reports to internal and external stakeholders.
- Success in building and leading a high-performing finance and accounting team.
- Ability to foster a positive and engaged work environment within the finance department.
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The CFO plays a pivotal role in formulating the financial and operational strategy for the success of an organisation; therefore, finding the right CFO is essential for ensuring any organisation’s financial stability and growth. By understanding the CFO job description, including roles, responsibilities, reporting lines, technical and soft skills, stakeholder expectations, and perks and benefits, recruiters can effectively attract and identify top candidates.
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