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Career Story: Chief Financial Officer For A Financial Services Company

Chief Financial Officer For A Financial Services Company

Job Title: CFO For A Financial Services Business

Type of Company: I work for a national company that markets financial service products to individuals and institutions.

Education: BS, Accounting

Previous Experience: I've held a variety of financial management jobs. I started out as an auditor for a "big 8" accounting firm and served later on as a financial analyst, the leader of finance shared-service operations and the lead for financial planning and analysis and program management.

Job Tasks: My current responsibilities include all aspects of financial management and control for my company, but my single most important duty is making sure I understand the financial ramifications of large investments and accounting issues. I delegate most of the day-to-day balance-sheet work to the accounting team and focus instead on the month-to-month trends, reviewing exceptions and satisfying myself that all the appropriate entries have been booked.

In addition to the monthly close, I spend a lot of my time preparing and reviewing forecasts for initiatives the business has in mind, outlining the steps I believe to be necessary if we're to move a project forward. I also attempt to ensure that the cost-benefit analyses we prepare are consistent and reliable so we can easily compare investments. This is critical to our efforts to invest in projects that are of high value both short- and long-term.

Lastly my team makes sure there is good reporting of our results across the business so that each manager can see how his department is doing in relation to our goals.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I spend a lot of time at work and the hours are an issue. I often put in 12-hour days, so my work week is somewhere around 50-60 hours in length (not to mention the commuting back and forth). And now with the economy a shambles we are all being asked to do more with fewer resources.

Job Tips: When you're just starting out, try to join a firm that gets you as much exposure to various industries as possible. Do not limit yourself to one industry or another as that may lead you down a path you don't like. Also try to join a company that is committed to your continued development and education. When you graduate from college your education has just begun.

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