Founders and entrepreneurs can be very successful starting their businesses, but scaling them often requires the support of other professionals. Why would a company need support with their C-Suite? Are business owners and CEOs not capable of making decisions and leading the business on their own? What does engaging a professional CEO, COO, CFO, or other C-Suite executive (CXO) really do? While many business owners and CEOs can make the tactical decisions about the business today, they often need to engage outside professionals to drive future growth and take their companies to the next level.
Professional CXOs bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, training, and education that current company leaders may not have. The job of these executives is to strategically partner with the founder, owner, or other business leader to accelerate the growth of the business and increase enterprise value.
CXOs may get involved in all aspects of the business as they analyze a company’s core processes, identify any weaknesses or potential areas of improvement, define key performance indicators, create detailed forecasts, manage cash flow and possible funding needs, and so on. CXOs can also monitor employee performance and morale as they consider different organization designs and overall business models for a company to maximize its longer-term growth potential. Most importantly, good CXOs work with business owners to develop strategic plans that drive operational and financial strength and accelerate a company’s growth. The CXO’s role is as both guardian and champion of business value.
Let’s look at two common – and critical – executive positions you may need to consider: Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Chief Financial Officer
The Chief Financial Officer is much more than an accountant, bookkeeper, or controller. CFOs are strategic partners for their owners/CEOs. CFOs sit at the highest level of the financial management pyramid and oversee all the company’s financial functions. They regularly get involved in other aspects of the business too.
Good CFOs are strategically focused on the big picture and the future, with the short and long-term goals of the company in mind. They analyze the company’s processes, define and monitor critical KPIs, identify weaknesses and potential areas of improvement, create detailed forecasts, manage cash flow, and manage any funding needs. Good CFOs also assess the company’s business model to maximize growth potential. CFOs work with their business owners and CEOs to develop overall financial strategies for their companies. They develop comprehensive strategic plans to accelerate and effectively manage growth based on the company’s goals as well.