Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Requirements and Duties

Sep 13, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a chief financial officer (CFO). Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary experience to find out if this is the career for you.

Chief financial officers (CFOs) help businesses achieve their financial goals. They perform perform broad business and accounting tasks, including analyzing financial statements, supervising finance personnel, and developing financial strategies. A bachelor's degree is generally the minimum requirement though master's degrees are common.

Essential Information

Chief financial officers monitor and work to improve the financial status of a business. While the requirements of becoming a CFO may vary depending on the organization hiring, most candidates will possess a bachelor's or master's degree in a discipline such as business administration or economics as well as at least a few years of experience working in a related position.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business administration or economics
Other Requirements Experience in a related position (in most cases)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) -5%* (all chief executives)
Median Salary (2018) $189,600* (all chief executives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties of a Chief Financial Officer

Chief financial officers manage the overall financial risks of a business. They supervise the compilation and preparation of financial statements and reports, develop and pursue positive business ventures, watch over mergers and acquisitions, develop strategies for internal growth and effectively manage the revenue of the corporation. The CFO works in close cooperation with the chief executive officer (CEO) to create plans and opportunities for the maximum benefit of the organization.

The position of CFO requires strong self-discipline and managerial skills, as well as an equally strong spirit of teamwork and cooperation. CFOs must set appropriate goals for an organization and oversee the action required to complete them successfully. They must likewise build and maintain productive business relationships in order to achieve a unified vision that ensures everyone within the organization remains committed to the company's course of action.

Salary and Employment Information for a Chief Financial Officer

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2018, chief executives, including chief financial officers, earned a median salary of $189,600 per year. Those working in investment pools and funds industry earned the most, with the natural gas transportation and distribution industries close behind. The BLS has projected a 5% decrease in jobs for chief executives between 2018 and 2028.

CFOs provide organizational leadership related to the financial health of an organization. They typically possess a bachelor's or master's degree in a business or finance related field and have prior work experience.

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