A Day in the Life of a Silicon Valley CFO

As virtually everybody knows, Silicon Valley is home to some of the world’s largest technology companies. But how many recognize the key role played by the CFOs of these organizations? This sometimes behind-the-scenes finance leader keeps these companies on track financially and often heads up critical change management efforts. 

Robert Half understands the CFO role and its contribution to the success of an organization. That’s why, for the 7th year in a row, we have sponsored the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Awards. This year’s event held on November 20 once again recognized these deserving individuals and saluted their role as chief financial officer.

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a CFO is like? Of course, much of the day-to-day responsibilities of CFOs depend on the industry and size of the company the work for. (The job at a large Fortune 500 company can be quite different from that at a small entrepreneurial company.) One thing CFOs all have in common, though, is the need to wear many hats throughout the day. They are the advisor, the leader, and strategist of the company. They provide key advice to their company’s CEO and board of directors. And they lead their financial team’s decisions and prepare plans of action based on the company’s strategies. In the simplest terms, CFOs are closest to the organization’s financial situation so others look to them for an assessment of how things are going. 

Two key challenges CFOs face are change management within the organization and the continual shortage of accounting and finance talent. Sixty-four percent of CFOs polled in a Robert Half survey conducted earlier this year said they found it difficult to find skilled candidates to fill accounting and finance roles in their organization. Salary is also an important factor when it comes to recruiting the best people and convincing them to stay on board. It’s crucial to ensure the compensation you offer is competitive with that of other firms in your industry and region. Also, organizations continually need to change with times because yesterday’s success does guarantee tomorrow’s success. This includes both technological and operational changes. The pressure of the CFO having to stay on top of what is necessary to increase efficiencies and create higher levels of customer satisfaction is a key challenge in itself. And yet, these mentioned above are only a few of the potential challenges a CFO faces on a day-to-day basis.

While we congratulate each of these top chief financial officers of Silicon Valley, may we remember every CFO being honored is very deserving of this award. Their day-to-day pressing responsibilities makes the CFO role very crucial, and so much more impressive when a person does it well, such as those being honored at the Silicon Valley Business Journal CFO of the Year Awards. Being a chief financial officer is a tough job, but somebody has to do it.