Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are senior corporate officers accountable for overseeing and managing the financial risks of a corporation. They are usually in charge of financial planning and record-keeping as well. CFOs oversee cash flow, performance, liability, partner and shareholder relations, and budgets. They also monitor the Accounting, IT, Finance, and HR departments. The CFO reports directly to the CEO.
Controllers are high-level financial officers at companies. They manage the accounting department. Controllers have a significant background in accounting work and are often promoted from within the accounting department. They oversee the financial activities of the company. Controllers typically report to the CFO, although as some companies, controller and CFO jobs may be combined.
Finance managers are responsible for the financial health of a company, group, or organization. They can work in a wide variety of industries. Their primary tools are research, analytics, and reporting. They help to direct investment activities and cultivate strategies that will lead to long-term financial success. They report results and predictions to upper management.
CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are accountants, business consultants, and financial auditors. They handle a range of financial services, from corporate finance to tax preparation. Often employed by corporations and associations, CPAs may manage finances as Chief Financial Officers or finance managers. All CPAs must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination in order to be certified.
Tax accountants prepare state and federal income tax documents for a client. Some tax accountants may be self-employed, others work for accounting firms, and some are in-house as part of the accounting staff. More senior tax accountants also provide strategic advice for their client or employer. All tax accounts must have valid CPA license.
Accountants record and analyze financial records for companies or individuals. Their job is to compile and verify all transactions and ensure that their clients are financially efficient as well as compliant with lawful business practices. Within this field, there are many specialties. The most common three specialties are public, management, and government accountants.
Staff accountants are the bulk of the accounting department staff at most companies. Job duties for staff accountants typically include general bookkeeping, maintaining financial reports, and preparing and analyzing budgets. Skill in Microsoft Excel and accounting software like Quickbooks is required for this job. This job is the first step to high-level accounting positions such as controller and CFO.
Accounts payable specialists are accounting clerks who manage all outgoing payments for a company. This includes payroll and all other invoices to the company. Accounts payable specialists process all check requests and distribute payment, and keep documentation for tax purposes. A keen attention to detail is required for this job, along with skills in Microsoft Excel and accounting software.
The primary job of an accounts receivable specialist is to process and track all outstanding company bills. This includes making collection calls and sending follow up statements to delinquent accounts. They also prepare aging reports for the company. Accounts receivable specialists are part of the general accounting staff and may perform other accounting duties. They typically report to the controller.
Bookkeepers are responsible for some or all of the financial accounts within an organization. A bookkeeper’s job is to record all transactions, post debits and credits into a general ledger, and produce financial statements and other reports for the management of the company. A bookkeeper may work as an individual or within a department to manage all accounts payable and accounts receivable.