Financial Manager or Chief Financial Officer


What does a Financial Manager or CFO do?

Financial managers are responsible for managing and controlling the financial matters of a company. In large organisations they oversee the functions of financial employees appointed to take care of specific aspects of the financial division, but in smaller companies financial managers are responsible for performing most of or all tasks themselves. Predominantly they provide both operational and programmatic support to the organisation. Its the norm that they report directly to the President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and directly assists the Chief Operating Officer (COO) on all strategic and tactical matters as they relate to budget management, cost benefit analysis, forecasting needs and the securing of new funding.

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Study Path:

Most financial managers start their careers as accountants, financial accountants or auditors and only become financial managers after years of experience. An accounting qualification may Financial Manager/Chief Financial Officer be augmented by a management qualification such as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

For example:

Typical qualifications for Financial Manager / CFO roles include:

  • A minimum of 8, preferably 10, years experience in a senior role.
  • CA registration.
  • A higher qualification in Accounting, Finance or Business.


Professional bodies:

Professional body membership or registration is not a general prerequisite to become a financial manager. However, certain employers may require their financial managers to be members of professional bodies, for example, some of the large companies appoint only Chartered Accountants (i.e. members of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants – SAICA) as financial managers. You may also decide to rather register with the South African Institute for Business Accountants.