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What Are the Top Ten Responsibilities of a

New CFO?
As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of your company, you are responsible to the company’s Board of
Directors for all accounting and financial matters. You must establish company-wide objectives, policies,
procedures, processes, programs, and practices to assure the company of a continuously sound financial
accounting structure.
1.

Cash Flow. As a new CFO, your job is to control the cash flow position throughout the company,
understand the sources and uses of cash, and maintain the integrity of funds, securities and other
valuable documents. You receive, have custody of, and disburse the company’s monies and
securities. New CFO responsibility includes the authority to establish accounting policies and
procedures for credit and collections, purchasing, payment of bills, and other financial obligations.
Cash is king and the flow of cash, or cash flow, is the most important job a new CFO has in any
company.

2.

Company Liabilities. After cash flow, the new CFO must understand all of the company’s
liabilities. A company has many legal contracts, statutory & tax obligations, hidden liabilities in the
form of contingencies, leases, or insurance summaries, and expectations from loan covenants
and/or the board of directors. As a new CFO, if you’re not watching out for the liabilities, who is?

3.

Company Performance. The new CFO must understand the company business model for
generating customer value and translate the operational metrics into measures for performance.
The new CFO is the company scorekeeper using tools like the balanced scorecard, dashboards, and
financial statement ratio analysis to communicate both the company’s expected and actual financial
performance.

4.

Department Supervision. In a small organization, the CFO is the supervisor of Accounting,
Finance, HR, and IT. In a larger company, the CFO may only be responsible for the Accounting and
Finance functions. Either way, the new CFO supports the company’s accounting and financial
functions using job descriptions, policies, and procedures, and methods for automating document
control.

5.

Budgeting and Expense Control. Budgets are a fact of life, and the new CFO is responsible for
overseeing the budget process, collecting the inputs, and comparing the company’s actual
performance with estimates (the budget). It is an ugly process that falls within the CFO area of
control.

6.

Financial Relationships. As a new CFO, you establish and maintain lines of communication with
investment bankers, financial analysts, and shareholders in conjunction with the President. You
administer banking arrangements and loan agreements and maintain adequate sources of capital for
the company’s current borrowings from commercial banks and other lending institutions. In
addition, you invest the company’s funds and administer incentive stock option plans.

7.

Finance or Raising Capital. You would think that finance is one of the key roles of the Chief
Financial Officer. Yes, it is important, but it comes after other more pressing operational issues, like
those listed above. The new CFO will establish and execute programs for the provision
of capital required by the company, including negotiating the procurement of debt and equity capital
and maintaining the required financial arrangements. As the new CFO, you’ll coordinate the longrange plans of the company, assess the financial requirements implicit in these plans, and develop
alternative ways in which financial requirements can be satisfied.

procedures. Financial Relationships 7. like Sarbanes-Oxley. including the annual and interim reports to shareholders and the Board of Directors. Department Supervision 5. Company Liabilities 3. ensures the maintenance of appropriate financial records. or programs when needed. The new CFO is responsible for the financial aspects of all company transactions including real estate bids.8. and GAAP (and soon. procedures. Record Control 10. as required. Record Control. you need to approve all agreements concerning financial obligations. contracts. Shareholder Relations . Cash Flow 2. Financial Obligations. and other actions requiring a commitment of financial resources. Shareholder Relations. The CFO has primary responsibility for ensuring company compliance with financial regulations and standards. and information programs. A new CFO analyzes company shareholder relations policies. such as contracts for raw materials. IFRS). Financial Obligations 9. and services. 10. Finance or Raising Capital 8. insures audits are completed in time and statutory book closing occur. The Top Ten Responsibilities for the New CFO: 1. Budgeting and Expense Control 6. prepares required financial reports. Company Performance 4. as well as recommends to the President new or revised policies. 9. As the new CFO. the IRS Tax Code. The CFO also provides insurance coverage. IT assets. and leases.