What Does a CFO Do? CFO Roles and Responsibilities

What does a CFO do in a small business?

Setting up your own business can be very exciting but no-one can doubt the hard road that lays ahead. You have a great idea for a product or service, think you have some customers that will buy it but are then faced with a whole new range of things like structures, planning, financials etc. When you do actually get some sales on the board you then find you are hiring staff which presents a whole new ball game with competing goals and performance management. In navigating your way through all these issues, finding someone who you trust who can offer different views is difficult. You can discover that you are alone.

The most common “trusted advisor” a business owner will turn to is their accountant. Accountants have a wealth of expertise around technical matters and compliance ie tax which they gain through exposure to the many clients across a broad range of industries whom they deal with. The second which is becoming more common is the Business Coach who develop key goals and actions and holds the Business Owner accountable. Both Accountants and Business Coaches are external advisors.

There is a third option. If you were the CEO of a large business, you would have a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) at your side and in your pocket. The CFO is the business conscience of the CEO who is free to have expansionary ideas, but is then grounded in the numbers by a good CFO. The CFO is the trusted business partner to whom the CEO looks to bounce ideas and develop strategies. Unlike your Accountant and Business Coach, the CFO is internal and works from within the business gaining credibility and assisting you to build you successful team. With a good CFO at your side, you don’t have to walk alone.


Brian Doughty is founder of the outsourced CFO which is a part time CFO service for small to medium sized businesses. Brian’s experience in large corporates and small businesses is unique and has enabled him to develop a simple to understand set of tools which will help business owners engage staff, monitor performance and achieve their goals. For more information, contact us.