Careers in finance – The Chief Financial Officer
Have a passion for all things finance? Though stressful, the role of a Chief Financial Officer might be something you want to consider working towards. Already qualified? Check out the CFO jobs on Job Mail. Want to learn more about the career? Then this blog post is for you!
You may have heard of the title before. This is an abbreviation of the c- level executive title of Chief Financial Officer. This job is at the upper echelon of finance jobs. To put it simply the CFO is the chief company officer who is in charge of overlooking the company’s financial health and wellbeing and ensuring that the company’s financial risks remain manageable.
A look at the CFO Job Description
The CFO job description involves taking on a number of responsibilities. The CFO’s job is to carry out a few roles to ensure that the company remains financially sustainable. This includes:
- Keeping check and monitoring the company’s banking activities to ensure that its cash flow needs are adequately met.
- Finding ways to improve the company’s revenue and reduce its cost by formulating ways to open up new revenue streams, maximizing the profitability of current revenue streams or cutting/ reducing costs where it deems it necessary to do so.
- Making sure there is full transparency in the company’s financial performance and that the company’s financial and accounting departments remain in compliance with any applicable laws.
- Directing and overlooking all accounting and finance tasks in the company to make sure that they are performing the tasks they are supposed to be performing.
- The CFO job description also involves making sure that the company remains in track of its financial objectives and working on removing any obstacles that may prevent the company from meeting its financial objectives.
Another great way to learn more about the job description of a Chief Financial officer is to read through the CFO jobs on Job Mail, noting important points in the job requirements set out by companies.
Becoming a CFO in South Africa
It is no easy task to become CFO. As the title suggests this is a very senior managerial position that requires you to have a lot of senior management experience. As a general rule of thumb, Chief Financial Officers are expected to have at least 10 years’ experience in senior management positions.
On top of this requirement, professionals are also expected to have a degree in either Accounting, Finance or in any financial degree. An MBA is often a big plus in this field as it equips you with the necessary skills to manage executives.
A Chief Financial Officer is normally either Chartered Accountants, Certified Management Accountants or Certified Public Accountants. This means that on top of having a degree in Finance or Accounting you will have taken further tests to become certified either as a Chartered Accountant, a Management Accountant or a Certified Public Accountant.
As we live in an increasingly digital world you will be expected to have a good grasp of computer skills in order to be able to use financial reporting software.
Due to the requirements many times set out by the CFO job description of companies, you will also be expected to have character traits such as being a strategic thinker, a planner, having strong interpersonal skills, an ability to communicate well with people at all levels and strong problem solving skills.
It is important to note that although this is what companies tend to look for when hiring a CFO, each company has its own employment criteria and some companies may be willing to take someone with a degree outside of the ‘standard qualification’.
Salary and Work Environment
Since this is a very senior position, the CFO salary tends to be quite high. According to Pay Scale, professionals in these types of finance jobs have an average base salary of R1 Million.
On top of this base salary, a CFO can in some instances earn additional income in the form of bonuses and profit sharing, bringing their total average yearly salary to R1.2 Million.
As this is a top position you can expect the role to come with a lot of work pressure. However, you will have a certain level of flexibility when it comes to working hours.
Skills and characteristics of a Chief Financial Officer
There are quite a few skills and character traits you will need to have to succeed as a CFO. You will need to be a highly proactive individual with analytical skills. You will need to be team oriented, while maintaining a high level of trustworthiness and integrity.
In terms of skills you must be able to have the following skills in order to excel in this career; mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, legal, operations, risk management and insurance and financial reporting.