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CFO Job Description - Basics Plus Optional Extras

CFO Job DescriptionCan someone please share  the main components of a solid CFO Job Description, plus optional extras that are sometimes included? Also, are there free resources with examples of CFO job decsription by industry?


Topic Expert
Richard Claiborn
Title: CFO
Company: In Transition
(CFO, In Transition) |

The CFO job description is one of my favorite Position specs. Its pretty comprehensive.

The CFO will play a key role in developing, monitoring and evaluating overall corporate strategy with the CEO and leaders of the two business units with emphasis on bottom line performance, working capital and enhancing shareholder value. This position will provide useful financial insights to help make better decisions about formulating and executing strategy.

The CFO will Interact effectively with other parts of the company; be viewed as a trusted business advisor by merchandisers, not just CEO. Critical outcomes include supporting the executive team with key financial information and operational analytics, and driving a culture of accountability in managing the business, adding value to operating businesses and voicing well-substantiated dissenting opinions.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

• Proactively manage cash flows in a leveraged environment
o Manage financial capital; communicate capital requirements/ implications of business decisions to CEO, merchandisers and BOD
o Conduct meaningful proactive analysis to improve key business decisions focusing on management of working capital
o Grow equity value – increase gross profit and reduce debt.
o Ensures efficient capital expenditures and minimizes taxes
• Define the financial strategy
o Provide useful financial insights to help make better decisions about formulating and executing business strategy
o Establish internal control processes required to manage and grow the business
o Anticipate and correct problems in advance
o Drive the annual budget process and the monthly reporting

• Manage and lead IT organization creating an IT competitive advantage for the business
o Manage all aspects of IT including strategy, architecture, operations, security and support
o Establish continuous improvement directives focused on using IT as a competitive advantage

• Effectively lead the finance / accounting team by hiring and retaining top-grade talent.
o Develop and coach existing team
o Proactively replace underperformers as needed

• Develop and implement a risk management policy
o Ensure controls are in place to manage commodity positions and trading
o Develop processes and disciplines around monitoring and assessing risk in positions
o Expand financial reporting systems to determine daily and weekly gross profit estimates

• Drive effective internal and external communication interactions
o Effectively manage sponsor, bank, board of director and financial advisor relationships
o Manage the fiduciary responsibility of the CFO

• Lead financial aspects of potential M&A activity
o Lead the financial evaluation of mergers and acquisition candidates
o Structure, negotiate, and finalize purchase agreements
o Lead systems integration efforts

Required Qualifications

We seek an outstanding candidate with demonstrated leadership experience and a professional track record of exceptional performance in key executive financial positions. Competencies should include:

• Leadership Competencies
o Ability to hires “A” players, continuously develops employees and coach for performance and removes underperformers
o Recognized for treating people with respect
o Demonstrates efficiency of execution. Flexibility and adaptability
o Creates network of talented people

Required Qualifications (continued)

• Personal Competencies
o Integrity/honesty
o Organization and planning
o Calm under pressure
o Aggressive
o Moves quickly and effectively
o Follows through on commitments
• Intellectual Competencies
o Brainpower / learns quickly
o Analysis skills
o Strategic thinking/visioning
o Creative/innovative
o Attention to detail
• Motivational Competencies
o Enthusiasm/ability to motivate others
o Persistent
o Proactive / takes initiative
o Work ethic
o Sets high standards
• Interpersonal Competencies
o Listening skills
o Open to criticism and others’ ideas
o Written communications
o Oral communication
o Teamwork
o Persuasion
o Holds people accountable

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Here's a free CFO job description in PDF:

Best... Sarah

Jason M. Jones LPA
Title: Client Service Coordinator
Company: Hemphill Wright & Associates CPAs
(Client Service Coordinator, Hemphill Wright & Associates CPAs) |


Your reply was a "mic dropper", it truly said it all. Bravo!

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Rich -

I like this because it doesn't assume a degree or certification is a panacea; it states what a candidate needs to succeed.

Michael Davis
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

I agree, certification is not much of stand-alone prerequisite.

In general, as a key member of the executive management team, the Chief Financial Officer shoulders direct responsibility for finance, forecasting, planning and accounting under generally accepted accounting principles. Chief Financial Officer duties also include strategic planning, effective internal controls, policies and procedures relating in any way to the above, providing insight to and sometimes sitting on the board of directors.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I would add to Michael's answer (and I'm sorry its taken 2 years to reply) That the CFO should be the ethical center of the business.

The CFO should say no, when proposals go too far afield. They should say no to behavior which is blatantly illegal. They should work with the CLO to make sure the company is being treated fairly and the customers and vendors are being treated fairly as well.

They should know the difference between a business decision and a blind, uninformed decision.

You gain these traits not in the CPA tests, or for the most part in Public Accounting or the MBA program, but from working in industry. And the more roles one has had in different areas of organizations (as well as organizations) broadens that experience level.

(Manager) |

Great CFO job description - Thanks!

Derek Quackenbush
Title: CFO
Company: Rising Data Solutions
(CFO, Rising Data Solutions) |

I think I got these from a presentation on this site--yes, from the SAP CFO (Latin America?) Anyway--I printed and keep handy. Not so much from a job description--but ways finance can run more effectively. Might help in crafting a JD.

1. Ensure regulatory compliance and effective risk management - embedded risk management and controls from transactional processing to financial reporting
2. Outperform financial objectives and create sustainable value - embed a 360 degree view of enterprise performance with agile budgeting and actionable profitability reporting
3. Deliver superior service at reduced cost - streamline financial functions and provide self-service reporting and analysis

Richard Archer
Title: Director - Governance & Risk Advisory
Company: Hill International
(Director - Governance & Risk Advisory, Hill International) |

Although it is great that everyone shared examples, is anyone at all bothered by the idea that there is some universal, generic job description that is representative of the experience-expertise-skills necessary to be successful in a role that has any many different facets as does that of CFO?

The CFO is customarily the title for the senior financial executive role, but the full range of duties and responsibilities for the CFO can vary widely depending upon:

- the size, complexity, type of corporate structure, ownership, industry, and level of technical sophistication of the organization.
- the expectations of other members of the senior management, owners (for private companies), and Board as to the types of duties & responsibilities that will be assigned to the CFO, how they want the CFO to support them in accomplishing their objectives, and how they will collaborate with the CFO to support that person's successful performance
- expectations of significant 3rd parties (banks, suppliers, customers, significant shareholders) that will have regular interaction with the CFO.

Defining the above factors and gaining agreement by the Board, owner, and other members of the senior management team effectively creates a needs statement that is tailored to the organization. The abilities, experience, and expertise necessary to meet each of the needs is much easier to identify based on the needs definition, than by marking up an example job description, no matter how effective the job description was for the organization that originally used it.

As an example of an unusual arrangement for the CFO, I know of a middle-market privately held distributor in which the CFO position was at one time a dual title held by the senior Sales & Marketing executive. Not great for classical segregation of duties, but it worked in that organization. The senior management of the company was a very close knit team who all came up through the company's operational units. The company was very customer oriented and sales focused. An outsider hired in as CFO would have had a difficult time being accepted. Although the named CFO did not have traditional finance, accounting, financial reporting, tax, IT or other typical CFO type experience, he knew how to read and analyze a set of financial statements and how the numbers related to the company's business performance. Their solution was to fill the finance & accounting skills gap by hiring a Controller who had the necessary technical expertise in delivering on those responsibilities in privately held, middle market companies. That arrangement worked until the company grew domestically, then expanded internationally, and a full time CFO was required.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Unfortunately most of the JD for CFO's I see are clones. Very little thought goes into their creation OR too much thought with very little reality.

One such ad stated the CFO needed very heavy, large number of SKU background. Besides "What!", why? Why does this necessarily matter to the CFO beyond a) a total inventory value that is manageable, sell-thru that moves the inventory out and sufficient turnover to accomplish sales projections (among other financial aspects).

Somehow, the actual details of the inventory and management of SKU's are the purview of merchandising, inventory control, purchasing, etc.

In other words, the function of the CFO is not understood, from small firms to large (accepting broadening and flattening of the role as the firm gets larger).

Stephen Ambler
Title: Director of Service & Delivery
Company: RoseRyan
(Director of Service & Delivery, RoseRyan) |

I agree with Richard. The role of a CFO will vary considerably from company to company based on needs, and therefore a universal job description isn't worth a lot.

In all situations they are responsible for the financial integrity of the organization. CFO's with a good business sense, independent thinking ability, and legal awareness will be better for a company than the "yes man" type. In a public company, investor relations skills and an ability to be a good communicator, will also be key.

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