Definition of CFO
chief financial officer
Financial Definition of CFO
What It Is
The chief financial officer (CFO) oversees the financial operation of a company or organization.
How It Works
Why It Matters
Wherever money is involved in a company, so is the CFO, which is why virtually every decision in every area of a company requires some attention from the CFO. For example, when the marketing department wants to launch a new campaign, the CFO may weigh in on the availability of funds for the campaign or may impose measurements to ensure the campaign is financially productive. Many CEOs are former CFOs.
Ultimately, the CFO's job is to protect and improve the financial integrity of the company. Good CFOs recognize that financial performance is the single most important factor affecting a company's value, and therefore most CFOs are keenly attuned to how decisions affect share value. When a company shows poor financial performance, the CFO is often held accountable, especially if he or she failed to anticipate the financial trouble far enough in advance to correct it.
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