Ah, the executive-suite roles. Jobs that offer multi-million dollar salaries.

Big fancy titles like CFO, COO, and CEO ring through our ears and produce a sense of respect. We’re so stirred by these titles that we might not have even thought about what they mean in the first place.

For example, what’s the difference between a CEO vs CFO? How does choosing a CEO impact the success of a company?

We’re going to take a look at these two titles today, giving you some insight into what they mean and what the roles require. Let’s get started.

CEO vs CFO Roles and Responsibilities

We’ll start with CEOs.

The CEO of a company is the “chief executive officer.” This is typically the highest-ranked person in the company. In a lot of cases, this person founded the company or was put in place by the person who did.

Their job is to oversee the entire operation of an organization. In many ways, that process involves delegating responsibility and managing people in a way that aligns with a company’s goals.

It’s not as if the CEO understands how every job within the company is done, but they’re skilled at finding people to do the job. The CEO is subservient to the board of directors in most cases, however.

The board is the financial backing of a company, and the company’s success influences how much those individuals will make from their investment.

What is a CFO?

A CFO is a company’s “chief financial officer.”

This is an individual who oversees all of the finances in the company or organization. Their role is particularly geared toward “big picture” finances rather than smaller expenses.

The distribution of finances throughout the company plays an integral role in the company’s success. There are also a lot of areas where financial expertise can be applied. For example, planning a future for a company requires some foresight on how to invest resources in ways that will lead to growth.

Decisions about charitable giving, investing, large-scale payroll considerations, recordkeeping, and partnerships with other companies all fall under the CFO’s purview.

Some CFOs even do some consulting, offering these fractional CFO services.

Executives in Practice

It’s important to understand the nature of the work that executives do. They’re not typically engulfed in paperwork or busywork of any kind. Their role is more like a conductor’s role in an orchestra.

They’ve hired the finest players and there’s a particular piece of music on hand, but someone has to be there to fine-tune and direct the flow of events. In most cases, executives have extensive experience in their field, so their most valuable asset is their insight into how a company should work.

Steve Jobs, for example, served mostly as a visionary for Apple during his later years with the company.

Want to Learn More About Business?

We hope our CEO vs CFO guide was useful to you. There’s more to learn if you’re interested in dissecting the business world, though. We’re here to help.

Explore our site for more ideas on choosing a CEO, finding work in your desired field, lifestyle tips, and a whole lot more.