What is a CFO?

Detector Inspector with ceefo's Colin Wright

A real CFO in its natural habitat [centre]. Today’s CFO is the expert that all successful entrepreneurs need on their team to help manage business growth.

Having a CFO is not the same as having an accountant, nor does the CFO replace the accountant. CFOs and accountants work together, along with other advisers. The CFO has a different perspective and more closely-focused responsibilities as an internal member of the management team.

Because CFOs must be supremely qualified and experienced, they’re costly to employ. Larger companies have a CFO working at the right-hand of the CEO, with other C-level executives.

A small business usually needs a ‘real’ CFO long before it can really afford to hire one.

And yet, how sustainably a smaller-sized business can grow and scale-up, and how much more value is built within the business for owners who want to exit, can largely depend on having a skillful CFO.

“The CFO’s duties include tracking 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 [they are] responsible for managing the finance and accounting divisions and for ensuring that the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed in a timely manner.”

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