What is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?

Definition: A chief financial officer – CFO, often referred to as a finance director, is the executive responsible for overseeing the financial operations of the company. In other words, they are the senior level management that monitors the cash flows and plans the future financial aspects of the organization.

What Does CFO Mean?

So what does a CFO do? I’m sure if you talked with one, they could tell you a list of duties about a mile long that they are in charge of. That could take hours. The fact is they are the highest-level officers in charge of finances in the company. A typical CFO job description can be divided into six main categories: controllership, treasury, risk management, taxation, investor relations, and internal audit. Let’s take a look at each of these duties and explain what they actually entail.


Controllership – these duties include overseeing the accounting system and the controller of the company. They must provide financial reports to other management branches, shareholders, and other officers for planning purposes.

Treasury –they are in charge of the banking and investment activities of the organization. Most companies utilize short and long-term investments, so their excess cash isn’t sitting idle in the bank.

Risk management – this duty goes hand-in-hand with the treasury duty because CFOs are in charge of managing the risk of investments, interest rates, and exchange rates in foreign transactions.

Taxation – overseeing the tax preparation process including income taxes, sales tax, and international taxes.

Investor relations – since shareholders don’t typically have much oversight or information about the internal workings of the company in and of themselves, the chief financial officer is in charge of informing shareholders about important information and maintaining a good relationship with them.

Internal Audit – reviewing and analyzing company financial records to attest to their accuracy and compliance with organizational procedures.

Obviously, all CFOs have slightly different job descriptions and responsibilities, but these are the standard duties across most companies.