Yes An Accountant Can Become a CEO. Why an Accountant Visions for CFO When They Can Be CEO?

todayApril 17, 2023 10

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Last, we also removed Richard Blickman of BE Semiconductor Industries, a Dutch maker of chipmaking tools. His pay was rejected by shareholders—not a good look for any chief executive. To understand the evolution of the CAO role, and what that means for the skills needed to succeed in the job, we recently spoke with several top accounting executives about their work as business and finance leaders. In this article, we look at the trends they highlighted and at the elements of the modern CAO. Chief financial officers oversee the financial operations and activities of a company or organization. They develop and implement financial plans, assess financial data, and report on finances to colleagues, investors, and regulatory bodies, as needed.

After I got my undergrad degree, my first job was as a statistical economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I realized quickly that it wasn’t going to be a job that held my attention for very long. Chief Accountants can take advantage of this trend by becoming familiar with these tools and using them to streamline their work. This will allow them to focus on more important tasks, such as managing staff and developing new business relationships.

There were two instances in 2021 that demonstrated how influential they are and why their words matter in financial markets. Celebrity status will bring additional revenue to the organization through sales or business expansion opportunities. It also existed in the early 20th century in the form of Henry Ford and John D Rockefeller, who would be at the forefront of every newspaper. The tiers of the corporate structure work together to maximize the shareholders’ wealth. A Chief Executive Officer’s role may differ depending on the organization’s size and hierarchical structure.

Find out what a chief accountant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a chief accountant. While the President’s general duties are managing the organization’s day-to-day operations and financial budget, they may vary in different parts of the world and based on the organization’s hierarchy. Smaller organizations may merge the Chief Executives and  President positions. The role of the President is assigned considering the size of organizations with different verticals for the company.

An operational CFO may prove essential in the event of a merger or acquisition or for saving money, while a strategic CFO advocates for safe investments and spending. It offers the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and with different types of companies. You’ll also have the chance to develop your skills and knowledge by taking continuing education courses and attending industry events. For big conglomerates, these positions are assigned to different individuals. However, a single person can hold the chief executive, CFO, or COO position for small startups and business ventures. Most firms establish a two-tier corporate structure consisting of the board of directors and C-suite members to protect the stockholders’ interest.

Chief Accountant Job Description Example

The CAOs we spoke with for this piece, and the successful ones we’ve worked with through the years, are curious and learning-oriented people. They understand accounting while also pushing to learn more, including how they can play a key role in driving results. Being a CFO is difficult but with education and experience, individuals in the role thrive. Coming from a lineage of Guyanese immigrants, Dr. Kamau Bobb recognizes the pivotal role of STEM education in global development.

  • The chief executive typically reports directly to the company’s board of directors and is responsible for implementing the organization’s strategic plan, including its business, marketing, and financial goals.
  • Corie Barry, the CFO, had a career as an auditor before joining the Best Buy team.
  • While the two careers have a salary gap, they share some of the same responsibilities.

Once you can see the end goal, and see the benefits of that goal, any tedious, difficult or complex steps towards it become less burdensome. And often asking “why” reveals implications that will change the way we do things. Accounting today is a lot more than its historical job of telling a story about where you’ve been in the past. A CAO who can speak the language of the CFO — and, beyond that, speak the language of the business — can help the organization make sense of the numbers and use them to forge a path forward.

How to Become a Chief Financial Officer

Because you are not the primary decision-maker, there are times where you aren’t able to influence either the CEO or the board of directors to make certain decisions. CFOs need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, or a comparable field. Additional certifications in aspects of finance like public accounting and financial planning also help pave the way to a CFO position.

Common Health Benefits for a Chief Accountant

The aspect I find most rewarding is being at the table when decisions are made, and using my knowledge of the operations and financials to influence the path that the company takes to move to the next level of success. An example from my experience at a construction-related company was being able to lead operational changes that enabled our team to break down barriers that led directly to a 25% increase in our productivity. CFOs oversee financial planning, implement and enforce financial policies and practices, and report to fellow executives about organizational financial activities. When presenting information to other employees, executive accountants turn data into something that non-accountants can understand. For example, a pie chart may show where the money’s going, or graphs may illustrate how budgeted amounts compare to actual income and expenditures.

What was the career path that led you to this position? What do you think helped you most on your journey to becoming a CFO?

When I went to try to interview with Coca-Cola for a financial analyst position, I couldn’t get in the door because I didn’t have an MBA. To get job interviews with the types of companies I thought would give me exposure to the types of analysis I found interested, I decided to get my MBA. Location also factors into earning potential and job availability for CFOs. Businesses in California employed nearly 34,000 top executives as of May 2021, with annual mean wages approaching $231,000. Top executives in Illinois earned higher mean wages of over $244,000 but only 8,500 positions were available in the state in May 2021.

Experience and education set the CFO apart from other finance professionals. As people who develop and guide the financial direction of a company or organization, CFOs have knowledge of accounting, economics, and finance. CFOs have likely worked in one or several areas within finance earlier in their career. Accountant/consultants tend to reach similar levels of education than chief accountants.

One of the operations managers that I worked with at Intel told me that he and a few other managers were given the opportunity to take a business plan developed within Intel and roll it out as its own company. Get instant access to lessons taught by experienced private equity pros and bulge bracket investment bankers including financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel Modeling. Finally, the COO and CMO are the leaders of the human resource and marketing departments, respectively. According to the report published by the Economic Policy Institute, CEOs earned 351 times more than the average worker in 2020.

Written by: Lucia

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