Hey, what’s this job here?
I don’t know, apparently it’s called HR or something. Supposed to be good for the company.
Have you tried doing it?
I’m not going to try doing it, you try doing it!
I’m not going to try it.
I know! Let’s get the CFO! They’ll do anything!
It’s a far too common story. Business has roles that need to be filled, and no dedicated person to give them to. Well you have to do something! And though a process I will define as…somehow…everyone decided that the CFO is the perfect person to give these loose, hanging jobs to. Can anyone tell me why that is? We have a theory, but I will wait until the end to reveal my grand thought.
I mean when you hear the words CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, what image comes to mind? What responsibilities do the words CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER imply? For most I would think it would be related to, well, financial responsibilities, and we will get into those in a bit.
Improper CFO Roles
However, to start, let’s go over some of the many roles that are dumped onto the poor CFO:
- IT – Have you tried turning it off and on again? IT feels like one of those jobs people just end up doing if they fixed the printer that one time. The problem is that IT used to be something one could ignore if your industry was not very tech-heavy, but with technology becoming a vital part of any business, IT is a full-time job, and should not be tossed around like it’s some part-time gig. The CFO has other responsibilities related to their actual field that should take responsibility over spending an hour on hold with tech support because the new router stopped working.
- Benefits – Benefits have to do with finances, right? Sure, why not? But seriously, insurance, benefits, the works should really fall under the HR person….wait a minute.
- HR – Human resources, the infamous and the very, very important. HR is far more than just a one-trick pony of employee complaints and office culture that plague the stereotype. HR is hiring, billing, external communications, insurance, benefits, onboarding, a lot of recordkeeping, paperwork, and many, many behind the scenes tasks. It is easy to feel the gap left by HR. Dividing up work of such importance and giving it to another role of immense importance will make the work of both roles suffer. There is a reason HR is normally not a person, but a department.
- CRM – This would almost feel like it could be in the same realm, but it’s not. CRM, or customer relationship management, is normally related to the specific technologies and software designed for this specific purpose. Failing to cultivate and manage relationships with partners, customers, etc., is vital to the success of a company. People like to feel valued, and just like any relationship, failing to value the relationship usually leads to a breakdown of said relationship. Now CRM may feel like it could apply to our dear CFOs, but honestly it should be under the domain of sales or HR, depending on what the relationships actually are.
- Groundskeeping – Wait, groundskeeping? Yes, I suppose that should not be under the CFO, unless the CFO really loves…gardening or whatever. But, if you need a groundskeeper, I would probably hire a landscaping company instead of a CFO. Hire a CFO for CFO tasks, not weeds.
Proper CFO Roles
These are just a few roles that may plague the CFO, but the real question is…why the CFO? Well, the problem is twofold: first, because they don’t complain. Seriously, CFOs tend to have a passion for the company and want it to succeed, and so they don’t complain when someone asks them to do something since it ultimately helps. Accountants are kind of the same way, but are usually too busy, so they have a reputation of being mean for rejecting new tasks. It’s not that they are mean, folks, it’s that they are busy and like to stay in their world of numbers and…numbers. Second, is that the role of a CFO is not truly well understood, it, what deals with money or something? So, the CFO is an accountant? Well…let’s go over some major responsibilities for the CFO. (Note: these could change based on company size)
- Forecasting: The CFO can tell the future! They are planning out the forecast to determine how the company should react now to prepare for later on. Revenue, expense, predictions for shareholders, performance predictions, and so much more. Forecasting is a crucial part of strategic planning, and having a dedicated person who can spend time on this will ultimately be a benefit to your business.
- Reports and Budget: Ultimately the CFO is responsible for the financial world of company. They are the bridge between the workers in the trenches and the C-Suite. The CFOs prepare things like the cash flow statement, profit and loss statement, budgets, annual reports, and more, which can be brought to partners and stakeholders so they can prove the company is worth investing it. The CFO is ultimately responsible for the true accuracy of the reports, as if they turn out to be false at the last stop, then it is not the accountant at fault as much as the CFO who signed off on it.
- Strategic planning: The CFO is a strategic thinker. Spending less time in actual numbers than an accountant, the CFO is largely responsible for taking the helm of the ship that is the company and sailing it towards lucrative waters. As the foremost risk and return on investment analysts, their insight is invaluable to top decision makers who have to choose how the company will proceed. As business revolves around finances, the CFO is at the center of all financial ramifications. They are the best person to figure out the right solution going forward.
Well, it’s time to wrap this up. Your CFO may take anything you give them, but CFOs should not be treated like they will take whatever from picky cereal eaters. They have a vital responsibility to the financial and strategic health of a company, so let them do it, yeah? Besides, giving away jobs people don’t want to do is what interns are for.