What is a financial director?
A financial director (CFO) is the senior manager responsible for managing a company’s financial actions. The functions of the CFO include monitoring cash flow and financial planning as well as analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and proposing corrective actions.
The CFO is similar to a treasurer or controller because he is responsible for managing the financial and accounting divisions and ensuring that the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed in a timely manner. Many have a CMA designation.
Understanding the structure of the company
Key points to remember
- The financial director or CFO of a company is the high-level financial controller, dealing with everything related to treasury and financial planning.
- While the role of a CFO can be rewarding, there are legal considerations that must be strictly observed.
- CFOs oversee tax matters for their businesses.
- Often a CFO ranks third in a business and plays a vital role in the company’s strategic initiatives.
Functioning of financial directors
The CFO reports to the CEO, but has a significant contribution to the company’s investments, the capital structure and the way the business manages its revenues and expenses. The CFO works with other senior managers and plays a key role in the overall success of a business, especially in the long term.
For example, when the marketing department wants to launch a new campaign, the CFO can help make sure the campaign is workable or advise on the funds available for the campaign.
In the financial sector, a CFO is the highest financial position within a company.
The CFO can assist the CEO in planning, cost-benefit analysis and securing funding for various initiatives. In the financial sector, a chief financial officer is the highest position and in other sectors, he is generally the third highest position in a company. A financial director can become CEO, chief operating officer or president of a company.
The Benefits of Being a CFO
The role of the CFO was born out of a focus on compliance and quality control, business planning and process change, and they are a strategic partner of the CEO. The CFO plays a vital role in influencing the company’s strategy.
The United States is an international financial center and global economic growth increases job growth in the American financial sector. Companies continue to increase profits, prompting demand for CFOs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job prospects for CFOs will increase by 7% between 2020 and 2024.
The CFO must report accurate information because many decisions are based on the data they provide. The CFO is responsible for the management of a company’s financial activities and compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) established by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory entities.
CFOs must also comply with regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which include provisions such as fraud prevention and the disclosure of financial information.
Local, state and federal governments hire financial directors to oversee tax matters. As a rule, the financial director liaises between local residents and elected officials on accounting and other expenditure matters. The financial director defines the financial policy and is responsible for the management of public funds.