CFO: Job Description, Salary, and Career Path


A CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is a top-level executive position that manages any given organisation’s overall financial situation. This demanding job requires candidates to have in-depth familiarity with how a business’s financial departments are run and comes with a huge amount of responsibility. Being a CFO means you’re one of the most influential people to any company, and you can expect to be richly rewarded for the knowledge and skills you bring to your business environment.

Throughout this article, Links Recruitment will be explaining exactly what it means to be a CFO, from what it’s like to work as a CFO on a day-to-day basis to the standard qualifications and skills you’ll find on a typical CFO job description. Finally, we’ll take a look at what your salary could look like as a CFO in a few different locations, dependent on the experience you have in the role.

What is Working as a CFO Like?

As a CFO, there is an incredible number of issues that could arise which require your problem-solving abilities every day. Because it changes so much from day-to-day — and because more often than not you’ll be under severe pressure — it’s vital that you’re adept at managing your own time, in order to ensure you can serve your company to the best of your abilities. From drafting budgets to engaging in high-level negotiations with other companies, no two days look the same as a CFO, which is a large part of what makes it such an exciting, well-compensated position.

Here are some of the responsibilities and duties you’ll be expected to handle as a CFO.

  • Assisting with high-level, company-wide decisions about policy and strategy
  • Ensure that all legal and regulatory documents are filed correctly and in good time
  • Taking steps to make sure that your company is compliant with all legal and regulatory conditions
  • Supervising financial reporting and budgeting teams to guarantee close cooperation
  • Working with other C-level executives, such as the CMO, CEO, and COO, to develop a long-term strategic plan for your business
  • Reviewing financial reports and attempting to cut costs whenever possible
  • Identifying potential risks and opportunities for the company, and creating presentations about those risks and opportunities to brief the other top-level executives
  • Oversee the company’s financial activity, which includes reporting, auditing, and budgeting
Job Duties

If you want to work as a CFO, these are some of the skills and qualifications you should aim to have.

  • A bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Economics, or a similar field is required, while an MBA is also an excellent idea as most CFOs hold an MBA qualification
  • Strong financial and accounting background, including an understanding of granular details such as profit/loss calculations and cash flow management, as well as a firm grasp of more high-level financial concepts
  • A proven, successful track record in other senior management positions is required
  • The ability to work under pressure and to manage your own time in order to ensure maximum efficiency is vital
  • Being able to grasp new concepts quickly and make sound, logical decisions is highly valued, as is the ability to create firm relationships with other individuals and inspire trust in your employees
  • A solid history of performing well in negotiations is crucial, as you’ll be doing a lot of negotiating with other groups throughout the course of your career
  • Experience with corporate governance is a plus
Man Working at Computer

Becoming a CFO will be the culmination of a long and successful career in the business world. This will often entail many years of experience in both normal roles and higher-level management positions, since the sheer amount of responsibility that comes with the CFO job demands that the ideal candidate knows how businesses work inside and out. As well as a bachelor’s degree in a financial field (and, ideally, an MBA or similar Master’s degree) you’ll need to prove that you can handle the pressure. The best way to do this is to spend time working in a similarly stressful management position and to have a proven track record of quality results to back you up.

Being a CFO is often as high as you’ll be able to go in your career, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of your career path. You’ll be able to transfer readily into entrepreneurial interests or consultant positions, while your valuable skillset and wealth of experience will make you a tempting candidate for other C-level positions that open up in different businesses.

Man in Suit in City

This is what your salary might look like as a CFO in a few different locations around the world, divided between early-career CFOs and experienced CFOs based on years of experience in the role.

PositionHong Kong Monthly Salary (HKD)Singapore Monthly Salary (SGD)China Monthly Salary (CNY)
Experienced CFO95k-140k17k-30k60k-90k
Early-Career CFO75k-94k9k-16k40k-59k

If you’re interested in learning more about CFO salaries, or if you’d like to become familiar with the main salary trends, check out Links International’s salary guide.

You’ll be able to find a list of vacant CFO job positions to apply for on Links International’s job search page, meaning you can begin looking for the perfect job as soon as today. If you’re involved in a business that wants to recruit a CFO, on the other hand, head over to the Links International recruitment page. Get in touch with one of our recruitment specialist and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process of hiring the perfect candidate and ensure that you only employ the best of the best.

Download the Salary Guide Now!

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