Financial officers are the backbone of the business. Their ability to counsel the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on matters related to the monetary strengths or vulnerability of the company plays a major role in executive decision-making. Stock holding companies depend on their financial officer's capital gain data when distributing a dividend yield to shareholders.
This collection of fiscal information alone tells the health of the company and can direct its goals forward. Daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly financial reports communicate to executives, employees, and shareholders alike how well the company is doing on any given day. Finacial officers with their team of accountants make this feedback possible.
The Role of a Financial Officer
Financial officers working under a CEO are expected to have a background equivalent to a Masters's in Business, Accounting, or Finance. Certification as a public accountant or qualified by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) ensures recent graduates of updated skills necessary in a digital world once governed by ledger books. A financial officer's daily responsibilities detail the company's transactions from sales to capital gain to the recording of a dividend yield for a particular quarter. Based on the size of the company, specific duties related to their position may include:
- Maintaining financial records and keeping them up-to-date
- Ensuring adherence to government regulations
- Able to communicate the company's daily financial status
- Advisor of financial goals
- Manager of the accounting office and its employees
The Rising Status of the Financial Officer
Larger companies expect their Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to be more involved in the decision-making process of company goals. Oftentimes, these CFOs serve as board members and are seen as the assistant to the CEO. Financial officers are the pulse of the company's finances and are expected to know at any given moment such details as investments, cash on hand, debts, and last year's tax information.
With the growth of the digital world, these executives and those employed within their departments are expected to be proficient in programs designed to print specific financial reports with the press of a button. Accounting has advanced from detailed ledgers to formatted spreadsheets and its employees are able to change today's trajectory from negative to positive with the input of a few numbers. The financial officer's ability to read and translate those numbers into board room decisions is expected.
Financial Officer for the Small Business Owner
For small business owners, there has become a less expensive option for employing a financial officer who can assist you with your accounting needs while giving similar input as with larger companies. The virtual CFO is a rising option for the business budget that cannot afford the high salary of a full-time accountant.
Similar to outsourcing for administrative needs, the virtual financial officer is an independent contractor not employed by the company. Therefore, benefit expenses such as healthcare, sick leave, and vacation are not the responsibility of the small business owner. One of the downfalls is that as an independent contractor you may not be this financial officer's only client. The upside is those hiring themselves out as financial assistants or accountants must follow the same certification and qualifications as those hired by large companies.
As a smaller business, you can reap the benefits of certified employees at a discounted cost. Small business owners are free to choose a financial assistant for specific accounting needs thus cutting the cost of services.
For the small business owner, investing in the latest software can serve as additional hands for your financial assistant freeing up time for more detailed analysis of financial data. Financial reporting can be a time-consuming activity. Software assisting with end-of-year reports, end-of-month reports, depreciating schedules, budgeting, and expense reports can be printed with one click of a button. Pre-formulated spreadsheets populated on a daily basis serve as a money-saving practice by serving as less time-consuming.
The modern-day financial assistant is the foundation of a successful business. Keeping track of cash in and cash out practices through a fiscal monitor's interpretation of reports speaks directly to the company's goals and future objectives.