Hiring the Right Financial Professional: The CFO

Part three of four in a SmartMoney series by Mike Baker
Read Part One: The Bookkeeper and Part Two: The Controller.

The larger the company, the more complicated the financial decisions and the more responsibilities required of those people minding the money.

Earlier in this series, I talked about bookkeepers and controllers, professionals who are best suited to small- and medium-sized operations. Today, I’ll welcome you to the C-suite to meet the CFO.

In smaller businesses, as I pointed out in the previous article, a capable controller usually can accomplish the financial tasks with a smart eye to the organization’s future. Companies with more than $20-$25 million in revenue often require the skill and judgment and leadership of an experienced chief financial officer (CFO). And once you reach $75 million in revenue, you might need both a CFO and a controller on your team.

The controller’s job is to accurately report what happened last month or last year, while the CFO is charged with helping to chart the company’s financial future. It’s an important difference.

Typically a CFO will:

  • Help develop and monitor strategic business goals.
  • Manage outside professionals such as accountants, lawyers and bankers.
  • Negotiate and manage credit facilities.
  • Oversee financial information and generate reports.

At the end of the day, the CFO is responsible for managing an organization’s financial affairs. At an average salary of $125,000 and up, a CFO is a significant investment. But this is money well spent if you can attract an experienced individual to your executive team to not only manage and monitor finances but also to help you grow your business.