The chief financial officers (CFOs) for large companies do not have an easy job as their responsibilities are numerous and very diverse. Although many people may believe that the financial officer is responsible for keeping all the company’s accounts, which they are, there are a lot of other responsibilities they also have. As opposed to being someone that always agrees with what is asked of them, the better CFOs are outspoken and take a lot of the responsibility for financial decisions both large as well as small. Obviously it is the Chief executive Officer that has the last say on anything, it is usually the CFO that they rely on to help them make the correct financial decisions. A CFO cannot therefore just be an accountant; they must also understand the business which the company is in so they can correctly guide the CEO to the right decisions.
One CFO that understands their responsibilities well is Maureen O’Connell who is currently the Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Scholastic Inc. You can learn more about Maureen O’Connell online but she certainly has experience in the Scholastic line of business, Publishing. Scholastic is an American publishing corporation that mainly concerns itself with educational publishing and media. Although this is somewhat of a different type of business to many other companies, it is a business that O’Connell is well familiar with and was even before she started working for Scholastic in 2007. Obviously well qualified in accounting, O’Connell gained her experience in the publishing business from her experience with other companies prior to joining Scholastic. From 1998 till 2000 O’Connell worked for the Publisher’s Clearing House as CFO and Vice President and then from 2000 until 2002 for Barnes and Noble as their CFO and Chief Administration Officer (CAO) and then again from 2003 until 2004 as President and CFO for Gartner Inc. another publishing company. There were other publishing companies as well that she has worked for but these prestigious companies alone would probably get her similar positions with any publishing company.
Her experience and her undoubted success as a CFO has made her one of the best CFOs in the country and not just the best female CFO or the best CFO in publishing but the best CFO of any gender or business type. She has become a role model for women in business and proof that a woman can succeed in high positions in some of the leading Corporations in the world, not just the country. She will be the first to admit that the job of CFO is not a particularly easy one and one that is not the same from one company to another. It is a job however that does need to start with a sound knowledge of accounting and then knowledge of the business in which a company you wish to work for will come second. It is because the CFO does advise the CEO on major financial decisions that they often also do hold other, perhaps more distinguished positions in a company as well.