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What is the Office of the CFO, and who does what?

The office of the CFO is an integral and influential part of any organization. The modern financial function has changing responsibilities and roles, and their ability to navigate disruptions and accurately forecast trends can help dictate an organization’s success.

In this blog, we will look at the defined roles within the office of the CFO and how you can use this knowledge to support growth in your finance teams and organization.

What roles are needed in the office of the CFO?

The office of the CFO plays a vital role in an organization, primarily to provide financial stewardship and management to ensure that financial resources are used efficiently and effectively.

The modern financial function is now expected to lead an organization with data-driven financial strategy which can require an organization to shed its legacy systems in favor of next-generation data tools that provide user-friendly productivity and a single source of data truth.

The CFO is responsible for overseeing all financial activities, including accounting, budgeting, cash flow management, taxes, investing, and relationships with outside parties such as lenders or investors.

The most important roles in the office of the CFO are:

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The chief financial officer is responsible for all aspects of a company's finances, and a key partner to the CEO. 

The CFO’s role has changed during modern times, and they are expected to be cross-functional: able to embrace operational changes, collaborate with others in the C-suite, and be able to predict and manage risk.

Senior Accountant

The senior accountant is responsible for ensuring that all financial information is accurate and complete. They work with accountants and financial analysts to ensure that all accounting procedures are followed correctly and that all relevant laws are obeyed. 

The senior accountant may also oversee payroll administration, tax compliance, regulatory and financial reporting.

 

 

Controller / Chief Accounting Officer

The financial controller has direct responsibility for accounting functions within an organization, including budgeting and forecasting, accounts payable control, and receivable collections control. 

In some companies, this role may be known as chief accounting officer (CAO). The controller works closely with the CFO to ensure accurate reporting of all financial data for all departments such as operations, sales and marketing, and human resources.

Other important roles may be defined as chief financial analyst, director of finance, director of business intelligence, director of planning and budgeting, director of treasury and capital management, and treasurer.

What is a CFO?

The CFO is the chief financial officer of a company, and they are responsible for the overall management and reporting of its finances, including:

  • The budget
  • Financial statements and reporting
  • Financial risk management
  • Financial strategy and planning

The CFO is responsible for the financial health of the company, including cash flow and budgeting. They also make sure that the company is compliant with accounting standards by making sure all financial transactions are correctly recorded and reported.

The CFO also plays a vital role in communicating the company's performance with shareholders and investors, guiding financial decisions, monitoring risk management practices across all divisions or subsidiaries under one umbrella organization, and much more.

CFOs used to focus on financial control and reporting, but must now react strategically to many challenges, having to focus on operational efficiencies, inflation, organizational resilience, accurate data, as well as driving growth.

In addition, a CFO can help to improve communication between the board of directors and management and help to develop strong relationships with investors.

The future of the CFO role

The role of the CFO is evolving and will grow in importance as it becomes less operational and more strategic. CFO has become one of the most strategic roles in an organization and they need digital solutions that drive productivity in their teams and provide accurate and holistic data. 

With accurate financial data at hand, the office of the CFO will play a proactive role in financial planning and decision-making. A CFO can help improve profitability and cash flow to help protect against financial risks by implementing appropriate controls and policies.

According to a recent Deloitte CFO survey, nearly half (49%) of all companies say they have a chief financial officer who is responsible for strategy and operations across business units - a significant increase compared with five years ago when only 35% reported having such a role.

By guiding operations with a developed financial strategy, a CFO ensures that growth remains sustainable and resilient. By also working closely with other key functions like HR and projects, a CFO can help to identify business opportunities, and optimize resource allocation.

Undoubtedly, a modern CFO needs to shed legacy systems like Excel to provide process-based software to their team that ensures productivity, collaboration with other functions, and focuses on enhancing strategic tasks.

 

 

How can Unit4 help CFOs shine?

Unit4’s FP&A software can provide modern solutions to modern problems, helping utilize your current office of the CFO more efficiently. CFOs now need to be strategic, cross-functional, and collaborative - legacy systems struggle to keep up with this change.

When the CFO can arm their office with our FP&A solution they can reduce manual workloads, alleviate demand on diminished teams, and refocus on value-adding strategic tasks, as well as enhance collaboration with other functions.

Visit our dedicated Office of the CFO page for more information, talk to sales to learn how our solution can take your financial functions to the next levelers or investors.

The most important roles in the office of the CFO are:

Chief financial officer (CFO)

The CEO's main business partner, the chief financial officer is responsible for all aspects of a company's finances. The CFO often reports directly to the board of directors, but it's not uncommon for them to report indirectly through the CEO.

Senior accountant

The senior accountant is responsible for ensuring that all financial information is accurate and complete. They work with accountants and financial analysts to ensure that all accounting procedures are followed correctly and that all relevant laws are obeyed. The senior accountant may also oversee payroll administration, tax compliance, regulatory and financial reporting.

Controller / chief accounting officer

The financial controller has direct responsibility for accounting functions within an organization, including budgeting and forecasting, accounts payable control and receivable collections control. In some companies, this role may be known as chief accounting officer (CAO). The controller works closely with the CFO to ensure accurate reporting of all financial data for all departments within the organization, such as operations, sales and marketing, and human resources.

Other important roles may be defined as chief financial analyst, director of finance, director of business intelligence, director of planning and budgeting, director of treasury and capital management, and treasurer.

Who is responsible for what?

As the head of the office, the CFO is responsible for all financial matters, including:

  • The budget
  • Financial statements and reporting
  • Financial risk management
  • Financial strategy and planning

What does a CFO do?

The CFO is the chief financial officer of a company, and they are responsible for the overall management of its finances. The CFO is responsible for the financial health of the company. They are responsible for managing finances, including cash flow and budgeting. The CFO also makes sure that the company is compliant with accounting standards by making sure all financial transactions are correctly recorded.

The CFO also plays a vital role in communicating the company's performance with shareholders and investors. They provide guidance on capital structure decisions that affect financing needs over time, help determine appropriate levels of risk taken by management teams within each division, monitor risk management practices across all divisions or subsidiaries under one umbrella organization, and much more.

CFOs used to focus on strategy and financial cost control but must now react to the many challenges with agility, having to focus also on operational efficiencies, inflation, the looming recession, accurate data, as well as driving growth.

Benefits of having a CFO

There are many benefits to having a CFO in an organization. They can help to improve financial planning and analysis, provide support during mergers and acquisitions, and help to secure financing for a company. In addition, a CFO can help to improve communication between the board of directors and management and help to develop strong relationships with investors.

The Office of the CFO provides critical financial leadership for an organization. The CFO is responsible for creating and executing the financial strategy of the company, as well as managing the financial risks associated with running a business.

A CFO can have a profound impact on a company's bottom line. By taking a proactive role in financial planning and decision-making, a CFO can help to improve profitability and cash flow and help to protect against financial risks by implementing appropriate controls and policies.

A CFO can also play a key role in organizational growth. By working closely with other members of senior management, a CFO can help to identify and pursue new business opportunities and provide valuable insights into how best to allocate resources to maximize growth potential.

As the financial leader of the company, the CFO will help organizations make better decisions about finances and ultimately improve the company's financial health.

The future of the CFO role

The role of the CFO will continue to evolve, and it will grow in importance as it becomes less operational and more strategic. CFO has become one of the most strategic roles in an organization. According to a recent Deloitte CFO survey, nearly half (49%) of all companies say they have a chief financial officer who is responsible for strategy and operations across business units - a significant increase compared with five years ago when only 35% reported having such a role.

With increased demands on limited time and having to manage external expectations and internal reporting – a typical day in the life of the CFO will continue to evolve.  The impact of supply chain challenges and even environmental, social, and governance reporting may impact CFOs in the future as they strive to deliver enhanced insights that elevates the finance function to being a strategic leader beyond just the numbers.

How can Unit4 help CFOs shine?

Unit4’s People Experience suite is designed for service-based organizations like yours. This comprehensive solution gives you the tools you need to become the strategic CFO of tomorrow, no matter how your role evolves or grows.

Visit our Office of the CFO page for more information or click here to talk to sales

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