It is undoubtedly a fact that in a finance career the highest position is that of a CFO i.e. Chief Financial Officer. On the operational ground, the only person who is above the CFO is the Chief Executive Officer. It is evidently to the CEO that a CFO reports. Thus, it is understandable that the position of a CFO is the senior-most role for a finance professional.
Who is a CFO?
George Ammar is a brilliant example to explain what a CFO is and what are the related responsibilities involved. He has climbed up and gone through the steps of becoming a CFO and has worked for highly reputed companies all over Ohio, Cleveland and Akron regions. This position is basically one in which person holding the position is accountable to manage the financial risks and planning of the company and at the same time for the record keeping purpose. A CFO is categorically and mandatorily required in a company when it is well established and has grown over years.
How long till you reach there?
You certainly cannot hope to get to the position of a CFO as a fresher. It demands years of experience in various financial designations and a minimum of 10 to 15 years to reach there out of merit. The science is simple; at the very beginning of a finance career, it is impossible to acquire the required set of skills for becoming a CFO. Becoming a successful CFO is not a child’s play. You have to earn it through the needed knowledge and experience.
Here are the different paths of reaching the CFO position:
CPA/ Certified Public Accountant
Studies revealed that around 45% of the CPA’s become CFO’s. Among all other paths, this is the most common. CPA involves the extensive knowledge of finance and accounting. A few years as a CPA form the base where a finance professional learns how business finances must function.
George Ammar has used the Treasury role as the last stepping stone to get to the designation of a CFO later in his career. A treasurer’s responsibility is to manage the cash. Financial investments, banking contacts, management of commodity and interest risks are also the part of a treasurer’s job. Larger companies give you such opportunities for high-level financial interactions. This position works well in prepping an individual to take on the CFO responsibilities.
This again qualifies as one of the best paths whereby you may gather a few years of experience as an accountant and then earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree to proceed to the next level of your finance career. Pursuing MBA is definitely not a direct path that leads you straightaway to become a CFO but, it will sure give you a competitive edge.
The HOD of the Accounting department of a company is better known as a Controller. This is the position that is above that of a CPA and thus, is a closer step on the ladder to reach the CFO designation. A chief Accounting officer or a Controller reports to the CFO.