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What Is a CFO?

A chief financial officer, or CFO, is a high ranking official in a corporation that is tasked with setting the direction for the corporation’s finances. Among the terms that are synonymous with a CFO are: treasurer, finance director or financial director. The CFO has a vital role to play, regardless of whether it is a large corporation of a small startup company. He is tasked to manage the inflow and outflow of cash and to prepare reports on the company’s spending, the balance of the books, and even in some cases, direct the payroll.

In a small company, the CFO’s tasks will likely include: making financial reports for every corporate meeting, handling employee payroll, and filing the company’s taxes. He will also be managing the company’s records on the money spent and received by the company. For CFOs of publicly held corporations, these are records that will need to be constantly available to the public and shareholders whenever someone requests it.

The CFO of a large corporation will have broader responsibilities. He will be tasked to oversee the accounting department, and also formulate plans that will help the company maximize its profits. To do this, the CFO may look at the systems at work in the corporation and determine the best way for employees to work more efficiently and reduce the total cost to get a job done. Of course, his more mundane responsibilities will include managing the regular accounting or finance related processes of the company including the payroll.

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