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The chief financial officer, of CFO, is a corporate officer responsible for managing and forecasting the various financial risks of the company. Tasks such as record keeping, financial planning, fiscal reporting, overseeing merchant accounts, and data analysis are handled by the CFO. For example, the CFO may be responsible for implementing a credit card processing system for your company to make it easier to accept payments. The CFO is a common job title in the United States while those in the United Kingdom will refer to the job title as a “financial director.” The CFO reports to the chief executive officer, or CEO, and the board of directors.

The role and job description of the chief financial officer has evolved over the years. Growing businesses use chief financial officers to outline financial strategy and help expand growing business endeavors. In the past, CFOs were often senior accountants help responsible for bookkeeping. Recently, the role of the CFO has changed to a more dynamic partnership with the CEO. The chief financial officer can supervise entire departments in addition to handling finances. If a small business goes through a merger or acquisition, the CFO usually guides the chief executive officer through the process. Chief financial officers also play a role in new companies hoping to get incorporated as they usually play a pivotal role in an initial public offering.

Most small companies do not hire chief financial officers immediately. In fact, most duties required of a CFO is usually done by the chief executive officer or an outsourced accountant. Companies with less than thirty employees often opt to save money by not hiring a full time CFO. As your company grows, it is important to delegate smaller, less important tasks to other employees. A busy CEO should not be distracted by mundane tasks such as bookkeeping, as it often takes time away from more lucrative tasks such as acquiring new clients and forming new partnerships. If a CEO finds it difficult to keep up with the everyday needs of his or her company, a CFO can help alleviate some of the stress. For example, a CFO may be delegated with the responsibility of managing credit card processing and merchant accounts while the CEO carries out the primary objective of the corporation. While a chief financial officer is not necessary for fledgling companies, having someone responsible for financial records helps a small business efficiently handle the demands of a growing infrastructure.