Chief Financial Officer: Job description

November 19th, 2019
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The role and influence of Chief Financial Officers, more commonly known as CFOs, continue to grow year-on-year. Responsible for ensuring the proper financial and administrative management of their company, CFOs are faced with ever-bigger financial risks and challenges.

The CFO really does play a leading role within the company.

Find out more about every aspect of the directeur administratif et financier role:

What are the objectives for a Chief Financial Officer?

In agreement with both general management and the shareholders, the CFO oversees the administrative and financial management of the company, in accordance with prevailing legislation (financial, fiscal and commercial).

As a key player in the company's strategy and management, the CFO has five main objectives:

  • Team management: accounting, cash flow, taxation, management control etc.
  • Administrative management: implementing necessary procedures and indicators, ensuring that these procedures and time frames are adhered to etc.
  • Accounting, management control and reporting: ensuring the reliability of company accounts, overseeing the consolidation of financial data, drafting the company's business plan and budget etc.
  • Cash flow, credit, recovery and banking relations: preparing company funding plans, monitoring cash flow, seeking support from banks and investors etc.
  • Business law and taxation: organising the board of directors, coordinating legal advice, ensuring compliance with legislation etc.

Depending on the organisation, the CFO may also intervene in other matters. For instance, the CFO may take charge of human resources, the information system, organisation, procedures, corporate and financial communications, procurement, general services and even internal auditing.

What skills are required in a Chief Financial Officer?

A CFO must possess a range of technical skills:

  • A specialist knowledge of finance, fiscal and corporate law, taxation, management control etc.
  • The ability to speak English fluently in order to interact with any subsidiaries abroad
  • An excellent knowledge of IT tools, particularly accounting and management software
  • The ability to manage teams

At the same time, a CFO must also have strong people skills, such as:

  • Interpersonal skills to motivate teams, hold discussions and negotiate with the various stakeholders etc.
  • Leadership skills to unite everybody around the corporate strategy
  • The ability to analyse, organise and consolidate to develop a comprehensive strategic vision
  • Adaptability and flexibility to anticipate future changes and developments

How much does a Chief Financial Officer earn?

A Chief Financial Officer's salary depends on various criteria (complexity of the position, training etc.) and can often vary.

The average gross annual salary of a CFO with a limited amount of responsibility (subsidiary, site or business unit) is €62,000. However, for a CFO with Group-level responsibilities and around ten years of experience, the average gross annual salary can increase to between €120,000 and €300,000. There is also significant potential to progress even further.

What training is required to become a Chief Financial Officer?

The role of the Chief Financial Officer involves significant responsibilities and requires a high level of study. Usually, CFOs hold a Master's degree or equivalent as a minimum:

  • Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Management (DSCG)
  • Master's specialising in Accounting, Control and Auditing (CCA) or Finance
  • University degree in Management Science, majoring in accounting, auditing, taxation etc.

To become a CFO, candidates must have approximately ten years of professional experience in financial management or auditing, for instance, in addition to their qualifications.

In the long term, the role of CFO may develop into a general manager in charge of finance, a management and finance consultant or even a managing director.

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