What Does a CFO Do? Pt. 4, Accounting

What Does a CFO Do?  Accounting OversightIn our continuing series detailing the duties of  a CFO, today we discuss the CFO’s role as it relates to accounting.

Let’s start from the top.  A CFO is ultimately accountable for the performance of the entire accounting department.  They must build a competent team that is suited to meet the goals of the organization, and manage/lead this team to insure success.

Once personnel are established and in place, the CFO needs to oversee accounting to insure that financial statements and reports are being produced in a timely and accurate manner.   This includes much more than simply checking in to see if things are coming along.  It entails establishing standard procedures for monthly accounting, closeout, and reporting requirements.  Process improvement isn’t just for production and operations.

Organizations of all sizes require continuous improvement in their business processes, accounting included.  A strong CFO will stay on top of opportunities for process improvements.  They will review and recommend improvements for billing, collections, payroll, accounts payable, inventory tracking, etc.  These improvements should be prioritized, budgeted and scheduled for implementation.

In the case of smaller companies, the CFO should be expected to “get their hands dirty” in the details.  Small businesses don’t need sophisticated accounting departments, and thus must rely on the CFO for more than just oversight.   In many cases, this means getting as detailed as reviewing the general ledger to verify proper accounting of all costs and expenses.  Furthermore, the CFO should assist in the monthly compilation of work in process schedules and inventory counts, if applicable.

And finally, the CFO should be available as a mentor and leader to the accounting staff.  Providing support, answering questions, and helping these employees grow is a key part of a CFO’s role.

Stay tuned for Part 5 next week, as we discuss the CFO’s role in “IT Development and Management.”

If you missed the previous posts, here they are:

About Gateway CFO Solutions, LLC:

Based in St. Louis, Gateway CFO Solutions helps small businesses grow profits and revenues, and bring peace of mind to their company’s financial picture through part-time CFO services.  Many small business owners are without a trusted advisor for the financial side of their business, and they have seemingly few resources to turn to for expert guidance.  We provide that guidance and act as a trusted, strategic advisor for our clients.  We provide both broad, global planning and “roll up the sleeves” technical services.

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