How to become a Chief Financial Officer

Rising to the rank of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) within an organisation isn’t easy. As one of the highest-ranking positions in a company, the CFO generally reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer, or CEO. It is, then, understandably a highly desired and extremely competitive position.

It is worth bearing in mind that the role of a Chief Financial Officer is exceedingly diverse, and often varies greatly from business to business.

Nevertheless, the importance of a CFO cannot be overstated, as the person in this post often carries out various essential roles, such as budget allocation, profit and loss, financial forecasting, and risk management. If these tasks interest you, we have outlined an elaborate plan below, whereby you may be able to become a Chief Financial Officer yourself.

First, know what you’re getting into!

As we touched on above, the role of a CFO is extremely diverse; however, here are some general responsibilities you should be prepared for when taking this job on.

  • Managing the finance and accounting team
  • Expert financial advice and financial strategies, delivered directly to executive leadership
  • Producing the company’s financial reports, and handling all financial planning
  • Managing financial forecasting and allocating budgets
  • Approving business cases
  • Monitoring cashflow

Here are the steps you need to follow

So, you are ready to accept the above responsibilities, but how do you actually become a Chief Financial Officer? Most importantly, what do you need to do in order to secure such a role at an organisation?

These are the steps you need to follow, if you are to impress executive leaders and secure your place among them as a reputable CFO.

  1. A bachelor’s degree is a must. Generally speaking, one of the following degrees, or a degree in a related field, would be most desirable: accounting, finance, business, economics. This, of course, would entail three years of full-time study.
  2. Postgraduate degrees will help distinguish your CV from the competition. Consider investing in a Master of Business Administration (MBA), or a similar postgraduate degree, to really stand out.
  3. Qualifying as a CFO is all about building up your credentials and diversifying your training. This is why many potential CFOs join the Certified Public Accountants Association, becoming a certified public accountant. This is testament to their extensive knowledge in finance and business.
  4. Work experience is a must, particularly in a leadership role in the finance area of a company. This company doesn’t have to be a big conglomerate, as any senior-level managerial experience will be required (and highly valued) before you are promoted to a CFO position.

So, you don’t want to become a CFO… but what if you need one?

If you are not looking to pursue your own career as a talented CFO, but you are a business owner in need of CFO services for businesses, look no further than Practical CFO.

Serving in the role of an expert Chief Financial Officer is the bread and butter of Practical CFO! When you’re running a business, you won’t want to leave your financials to chance. Unfortunately, if you do, repercussions for the longevity and success of your operations could be great.

So, if it suits your own organisation’s circumstances and needs, please don’t be afraid to make the smart choice of taking on an outsourced CFO to help give your firm the benefit of the expertise of the most trusted and capable financial professional. Simply contact our team now for further information.

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