Chief financial officers (CFOs) must have strong analytical, strategic planning and communication skills, including an ability to work well with the chief executive officer, board members and other senior managers.
CFOs typically have at least 10 years of experience in accounting or finance, including a minimum of five years in a management role. Many companies prefer candidates who possess a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and/or a professional accreditation such as certified public accountant (CPA) or certified management accountant (CMA). Professionals should possess knowledge of all aspects of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Public companies also require experience with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting. Previous experience in public accounting also is highly valued. Candidates for CFO should have held positions of increasing responsibility within an accounting department, such as director of finance, director of accounting or controller.
Typical duties of a chief financial officer
- Providing strategic management of the accounting and finance functions
- Directing accounting policies, procedures and internal controls
- Recommending improvements to ensure the integrity of a company’s financial information
- Managing or overseeing the relationship with independent auditors
- Collaborating with chief information officers on technology decisions
- Overseeing financial systems implementations and upgrades
- Managing relationships with investors and investment institutions
- Identifying and managing business risks and insurance requirements
- Hiring, training and retaining skilled accounting and finance staff
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