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The executive who manages the company's finances.

Business Glossary provided by


The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is responsible for managing the financial actions of a company, including tracking cash flow, financial planning, analyzing the company's financial strengths and weaknesses, and proposing corrective actions. They also forecast financial performance and manage risks and record-keeping.

Context of Use:

The term "CFO" is used across all sectors where companies require management of large budgets and financial planning. The CFO plays a crucial role in companies ranging from small startups to large multinational corporations. They are pivotal in financial decision-making and strategy, influencing the overall direction of the company.


The purpose of the CFO is to oversee and manage the financial operations of a company, ensure compliance with financial regulations, prepare and review financial statements, and develop strategies to maximize shareholder value. The CFO is often seen as the steward of a company’s financial health.


Luca Maestri, CFO of Apple Inc.: As the CFO since 2014, Luca Maestri has played a pivotal role in managing Apple’s financial strategy and operations. Under his financial leadership, Apple has seen significant revenue growth, robust profit margins, and strategic capital allocation. His responsibilities encompass overseeing the global financial operations of Apple, including financial planning, treasury, taxes, and investor relations. Maestri's efforts in steering fiscal policies and managing extensive financial resources have been central to Apple's ability to innovate and expand its market presence globally.Related Terms:

  • Controller: The controller is typically the chief accounting officer and heads the accounting department, responsible for financial reporting, accounting records, and designing internal controls.

  • Treasurer: A corporate officer responsible for managing the company’s financial assets, handling treasury operations, financial risk management, and investor relations.

  • Capital Structure: The composition of a company’s liabilities and shareholders' equity which defines how a corporation finances its overall operations and growth by using different sources of funds.


What qualifications are typically required to become a CFO?

CFOs are usually expected to have extensive experience in finance, accounting, or business administration. A higher educational background such as an MBA or certification like CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is often essential. Leadership skills and experience in financial management are critical.

How does the role of a CFO differ from a CEO?

The CFO is primarily responsible for financial aspects of the company, including financial reporting and planning, managing financial risks, and record-keeping. The CEO is the highest-ranking executive with overall responsibility for taking major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and being the primary point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations.

What are the major responsibilities of a CFO?

Major responsibilities of a CFO include financial planning, managing the company's finances, overseeing budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting, and also directing the finance team in day-to-day operations.

What trends are currently affecting CFOs?

Current trends affecting CFOs include the increased use of digital technologies like AI and machine learning in financial processes, greater focus on data analytics for decision-making, and a heightened role in strategic management within their companies.

Can a CFO become a CEO?

Yes, CFOs can and often do become CEOs. Their deep understanding of a company’s financial and operational workings provides a solid foundation for taking on the broader leadership role of a CEO.

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