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The Duties and Objectives of CFOs

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A Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, is generally appointed to oversee the financial matters of an organization or business. Usually reporting only to the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors, a CFO is the chief authority on financial operations of a company, including expenditures, lending, appropriations and forecasting.

Financial Reporting

A major duty of a CFO is to produced detailed, timely reporting on the financial status of the company and the market to the CEO, board of directors and government bodies. In addition, the CFO is often required to vouch for the accuracy of the company's reporting, and can face serious penalties if caught in error.

Oversee Capital Structure

The health of the capital structure of a company, or how it manages debt and equity, is one of the main responsibilities of a CFO. He must analyze short- and long-term debt and manage risk.

Ensure Compliance

The CFO must monitor the company's activities to ensure they meet federal and state compliance standards. In companies with internal policies, the CFO is responsible for reviewing departmental procedures to ensure they are up to standard, and request changes when needed.

Manage Financial Operations

The CFO is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of the entire company, from payroll to appropriations. She must manage the accounting department, the budget, control debt and assets, and deal with company investments.

Strategic Planning

At strategic planning sessions, the CFO represents the financial interests of the business. He must ensure plans are viable based on current and future budgets, and is responsible for recommending changes that will better boost profitability.

Approve Expenditures

In cases in which a company plans to spend a large amount of money, the CFO is usually the final decision-maker. She is responsible for determining how expenditures will fit into the budget and gives the go-ahead for large or risky purchases.

Analyze the Market

One of the CFO's major duties is the constant monitoring and analysis of the market in which a company operates. He must pay close attention to trends and be able to identify new opportunities that are created by entrances or exits in the market.

Financial Projections

The CFO is responsible for planning a company's financial future by predicting which strategies will be the most successful. She must analyze operations, identify profitable divisions, and determine how to use that information to boost sales. If a company is struggling, the CFO is responsible for changing the financial strategy to improve efficiency and increase profits.

Manage Staff

In large companies, the CFO is often responsible for the management of staff members who deal with financial matters. This may include analysts, accountants, stockbrokers and office staff.


Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.