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What is a day in the life of a CFO?

#accounting #business #cpa #cfo #life #work-life-balance

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Brad’s Answer

Hi Deon.
I was a CPA in Public Accounting for 5 years and then left to become the Controller for a regional health system in Florida. I worked my way up to become the CFO and have served several firms in that capacity for many years. Working in health care for most of my career my time was spent in a 1,000 different ways. Supervision of the Accounting/Finance, Accounts Payable, Billing and IT Departments was a hand full in itself. The main thing about being a CFO is that you never know for sure what you will be dealing with on a daily basis. I had so many days when I had a specific agenda of things I wanted to accomplish and never got to any of them because of unplanned and sometimes very surprising issues that popped up that needed my immediate attention. The truth of the matter is those days were sometimes stressful but often those were the best days because you deal with surprises.
The biggest thing about being a CFO is you have to look at finances and budgets but you have to be able to look past the numbers and see how your decisions impact the customers as well as the employees of your organization. I always said preparing financials statements and budget reports was not the end of the job....it was the beginning. A good CFO is able to look at the numbers and see what needs to be done from there. Problem solving is much more important than being good at math (which I never was).
Good luck!

Brad recommends the following next steps:

Public Accounting-great training
Become a Controller
Don't sell yourself short. If you can do the job have faith in yourself.
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Colin’s Answer

Hi Deon,

I think this really depends on the company and industry that the company is in. The CFO will often oversee a large grouping of an organization. The CFO could oversee accounting, tax, IT, treasury, planning, investor relations. So each day is likely very different. It also depends very much on the size of the company and whether it is public or private.

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David’s Answer

I agree that this depends on the organization's size -- a Fortune 20 company's CFO will have a vastly different "typical day" than a CFO of a small business.

That being said, through my years in working at small and gigantic companies, I think CFO's core deliverables are still the same:

1. Enable the organization under CFO's umbrella to support the various functions around the company
2. Make or help make business decisions that are fiscally prudent
3. Lead with fiscal discipline and best practices

So the key words there are "enable", "decide", and "lead".

A great CFO would enable first -- he/she can't do it alone so building a great team around the office of the CFO is crucial to maximize finance's role around the company.

A great CFO would make the tough decisions -- and if the team around him/her is strong, then only the most difficult decisions reach the CFO's desk and he/she has to be deliberative but decisive so that the team can move on and execute rather than get "stuck".

A great CFO would then lead by example in all their work -- by embodying fiscal discipline and preaching best practices. Finance is a support function in most companies but it can lead through example.

I hope this helps and good luck!
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Chelsea’s Answer

You will likely have very different days, but most will entail meeting with your direct reports frequently to help solve issues and share your view on the direction of the business, meet with the CEO on more high level/broad topics about the business strategy. Also, if there are complex technical accounting issues or transactions being contemplated or ongoing, you will be involved in discussions and expected to share thoughts on how those accounting issues/transaction may impact the company and offer advice on what next steps should be taken by your employees.

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Yousef’s Answer

Great question Deon,

As I am not a CFO of a company I cannot personally speak to what a day in the like would be like. But I was able to find a great article that may give you some insight into the position.

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/professionals/051713/day-life-cfo.asp

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