A chief financial officer (CFO) is the top financial executive within an organization. He is responsible for the tracking of cash flows, budgeting, and analysis of the company's financial strength. He guides the accounting and finance staff. He has a broader perspective on financial matters, which allows the CEO and COO to focus on strategic issues and goals. A CFO typically has some background in finance or accounting, but may not have the same level of technical expertise or experience as a chief executive officer.
In the federal government, the chief financial officer position was created in 1992 and is based in 23 agencies. Its goal was to improve government financial management. It also established standards for disclosure and financial performance. The Office of Management and Budget is responsible for standardizing financial management practices. The chief executive, or Deputy Director for Management, is responsible for the financial reporting processes of all agencies. The CFO also oversees the OPM's disbursements and accountability processes. He ensures the completion of timely and accurate financial reports that demonstrate that the organization is effectively managing taxpayer dollars.
A CFO's primary job responsibility is to manage the financial affairs of a company. He works closely with the chief operating officer and chief executive officer. The CFO oversees the financial functions and assets of the business, and provides leadership for continuous evaluation of strategic financial goals. A degree in accounting, business, economics, or government is recommended. The chief finance officer is responsible for analyzing a company's finances and assessing its performance.