CEO vs CFO: Understanding Their Roles and Responsibilities

April 12th 2024 | Posted by Phil Scott

CEO vs CFO – what is the difference?

What is the difference between a CEO vs CFO? A CEO manages and oversees the entire organisation, and a CFO develops the financial strategy for the organisation.

In this article, you will learn more about the responsibilities of a CEO and CFO. You will also discover how they combine to ensure the company is financially sound and has a well-aligned strategic direction.

CEO role and responsibilities

  • Strategic planning for the organization to drive it forward.
  • Developing and implementing the company’s vision and strategic plan.
  • Setting long-term goals for the company and ensuring they are met.
  • Providing leadership to the executive team and the wider organization.
  • Promoting and maintaining a positive company culture.
  • Making major corporate decisions regarding investment and direction.
  • Liaising between board members and the wider organization.
  • Representing the organization to stakeholders, the media, and the public.

The key attributes a CEO needs to carry out these responsibilities include,

  • Effective leadership to build and collaborate with a strong board.
  • Strategic thinking based on strong analysis of data.
  • A growth mindset and the ability to deliver that growth.
  • Agile thinking and behaviour in order to deal with challenges and changes in the industry.
  • Strong people skills to enable the effective leadership of the organization.

CFO role and responsibilities

  • Developing financial strategies and budgets for the organization.
  • Analysing financial data to optimise performance.
  • Preparing financial statements and reports and presenting them to the board.
  • Ensuring the company complies with financial regulations and standards.
  • Identifying and managing financial risk in the organization.
  • Managing the organization’s capital structure.
  • Overseeing the management of cash flow.
  • Analysing and controlling costs.
  • Working with other functions within the organization to implement cost-saving measures.
  • Collaborating with the CEO to align the financial strategy with the overall business strategy of the organization.
  • Ensuring the company’s financial resources are used efficiently.
  • Communicating with investors and other stakeholders.

The key attributes a CFO needs to carry out these responsibilities include;

  • Proven leadership skills they can bring to the finance function.
  • Excellent communication abilities.
  • The ability to identify and solve problems.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • A clear vision for the financial future of the organization.

CFO vs CEO

The CEO is responsible for developing the organization’s strategy and vision. They work in close collaboration with board members, including the CFO. The CFO focuses on financial strategy and planning to promote financial stability and growth.

The CEO and CFO collaborate to ensure the financial strategy aligns with the overall business goal and vision. This collaboration drives the organization’s long-term success and growth.