The chief financial officer (CFO) is a corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of the corporation. This officer is also responsible for financial planning and record-keeping, as well as financial reporting to higher management. In some sectors the CFO is also responsible for analysis of data. The title is equivalent to finance director, a common title in the United Kingdom. The CFO typically reports to the chief executive officer and to the board of directors, and may additionally sit on the board.
Most CFO`s of large companies have finance qualifications such as an MBA or come from an accounting background. A finance department would usually contain some accountants with Certified Public Accountant or equivalent status. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, enacted in the aftermath of several major U.S. accounting scandals, requires at least one member of a public company's audit committee to be a financial expert.
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States has incorporated more elements of business-sector practices in its management approaches, including the use of the CFO position (alongside, for example, an increased use of the chief information officer post, within public agencies).
The Chief Financial Officers Act, enacted in 1990, created a chief financial officer in each of 23 federal agencies. This was intended to improve the government's financial management and develop standards of financial performance and disclosure. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) holds primary responsibility for financial management standardization and improvement. Within OMB, the Deputy Director for Management, a position was established by the CFO Act, is the chief official responsible for financial management
The Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM) is specifically charged with overseeing financial management matters, establishing financial management policies and requirements, and monitoring the establishment and operation of federal financial management systems. OFFM is led by a controller.
The CFO Act also established the CFO Council, chair by the OMB Deputy Director for Management and including the CFOs and Deputy CFOs of 23 federal agencies, the OFFM controller, and the Fiscal Assisant Secretary, the head of the Office of Fiscal Service of the Department of the Treasury. Its mandate is to work collaboratively to improve financial management in the U.S. government and "advise and coordinate the activities of the agencies of its members" in the areas of financial management and accountability.
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