How to Become a CFO

If you are wondering how to become a CFO, then you’ve found the right article. While a CFO position is difficult to attain and requires many years of experience and specialized expertise, you should believe that it is well within your grasp. Since the road to becoming a CFO is a complex one, the goal of this piece is three-fold: discuss what it is exactly that a CFO does, the educational credentials needed for the position and the experience needed to become a CFO.

A CFO, or chief financial officer, is often employed by a larger firm because of its specific job nature. It would not make much sense for a small-scale company to have an in-house CFO simply because the investing activity of a smaller firm is presumably insignificant.

The CFO oversees all of a company’s financing activities including shareholder’s dividends, fundraising and corporate bonds. In a nutshell, the CFO is responsible to seeing that a firm “stays afloat” in terms of funding, and strives for maximum profitability. One of the worst thing that can happen to a firm is for it to lose all its money or a significant portion of it. It is the CFO’s mission to assure the board members and directors that the company has money to operate and is profitable or can attain profitability through a series of specific steps.

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Educational Requirements

When it comes to educational requirements to become a CFO, there is really not a set curriculum or degree path one must necessarily follow due to the fact that the CFO position does not require state designation or any governed certification for that matter. However, this is not to say that CFOs do not require any specific education. A person hoping to be a CFO must surely have taken much coursework in the field of finance. In fact, most of today’s CFOs hold advanced degrees in finance. One such advance degree is the MBA with a concentration in finance. This MBA is considered to be among the most popular degree options for those wanting to be a CFO. But what exactly does an MBA in finance involve? Expect to take courses in financial mathematics and mathematical modeling. A good handle on technical financial information is key in your journey towards becoming a CFO.

Experience Required to Become a CFO

As far as experience is concerned, CFOs tend to have many years of professional experience under their belts. A CFO must be comfortable managing people as well as equipment and operations. Jobs that typically lead to a job as a CFO include controller, investment banker, financial analyst or budget analyst. When a person holds such a job for many years, employers usually believe that individual is qualified for a CFO job at that point. Other work experience that can help secure a CFO position may include legal experience. The rationale behind this is that CFO primarily deals with finance which in turn involves banking activities. As you may already know, banks are heavily regulated and as such, lawyers are perhaps best equipped to deal with banking law situation and inconsistencies. With this information about how to become a CFO, you are well on your way to launching a successful career in this field.