CEO vs. CFO: What’s the Difference? (Explained)

  • By: Adam Wire
  • April 3, 2023
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Both the CEO and CFO serve on an organization’s executive leadership team, but responsibilities differ. Learn more about CEO vs. CFO.

In any corporate structure, there are various roles and responsibilities that must be fulfilled to ensure the smooth running of operations. Two of the most important roles are Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). And although both roles are essential, they have distinct differences in terms of responsibilities, pay, and notoriety. 

Read on to learn the unique differences and how board management software empowers executive leadership to keep their boards of directors on task.

What is a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)?

A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in a company. They are responsible for making strategic decisions that drive growth and profitability for the company. They are also the face of the company and represent it in all aspects of business, including communicating with the board of directors, investors, customers, and employees.

Roles and Responsibilities 

The roles and responsibilities of a CEO vary depending on the organization’s size and industry, but some of the core roles and responsibilities include the following:

  • Overseeing the company’s overall operations: A CEO is responsible for managing the company’s resources, developing and implementing strategies, and monitoring the performance of the organization.
  • Managing the company’s organizational structure: A CEO is responsible for creating and maintaining a functional organizational structure that aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. They also develop policies and procedures to ensure the organization’s structure promotes a smooth operation.
  • Driving revenues and profitability: A CEO is required to develop and implement strategies to increase the company’s market share and revenue streams. They are also required to provide regular executive summary updates on the company’s performance and present strategies to improve the organization’s profitability. 
  • Communicating with the board: A CEO plays a critical role in ensuring great communication with the board of inside vs. outside directors

Pay and Notoriety

The average salary for a CEO in the United States is $135,391 per yearThat said, from 1978 to 2020, CEO pay is estimated to have soared by 1,322%. This is in contrast to worker compensation, which has grown by 18%.

What is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?

A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a member of the senior executive suite. They are responsible for managing the financial aspects of a company. A CFO works closely with other executives and stakeholders to develop and implement financial strategies that support the company’s goals and objectives.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of a CFO include the following:

  • Responsible for the organization’s financial accounting: A CFO maintains the company’s accurate financial records and manages all the financial transactions, ensuring that expenses are within budget limits. They also ensure the organization’s financial statements comply with accounting principles and regulations.
  • Oversees the controller: A CFO oversees the organization’s controller, who manages the day-to-day financial operations of the organization.
  • Financial forecasting: A CFO is responsible for creating financial forecasts, analyzing financial data, and presenting financial reports to the CEO and board of directors.

Pay and Notoriety

The average salary for a CFO in the United States is $149,025 per year

Something to note, although CEOs are the highest-ranking executives in the company, CFOs are typically paid more than CEOs. 

OnBoard Powers Effective Boards

In addition to a knowledgeable CEO and CFO, effective board management is crucial for the success of any organization. Board management software can help CEOs keep their boards engaged — working smarter, moving faster, and achieving more. OnBoard’s board portal software offers the following benefits:

Streamlined board processes: Board management software can streamline boardwork by automating tasks, such as scheduling meetings, creating agendas, and sharing documents.

Enhanced communication: Board management software allows board members to communicate easily with each other and with management through a secure platform. This improves communication and collaboration within the organization.

Improved transparency: With board management software, all board members have access to the same information, ensuring transparency and accountability. This helps build trust within the organization and with stakeholders.

Increased efficiency: By automating routine tasks, board management software can help board members make the most of their time, enabling them to focus on strategic decision-making and other critical tasks. Using hours worrying about tasks such as how to prepare for a board meeting becomes a thing of the past. You’ll be able to streamline efficient meeting preparation with a drag-and-drop agenda builder.

Enhanced organization: Board management software can help board members stay organized by keeping track of meeting schedules and announcements. 

Improved document access: Board management software allows board members to access and review documents and materials related to board meetings, such as agendas, meeting minutes, financial reports, and presentations, from a centralized location. This eliminates the need for manual distribution of papers and reduces the risk of lost or misplaced documents. The software also offers real-time updates, ensuring everyone can access the most current information.

Board management software clearly provides a comprehensive solution for organizing and streamlining board operations. But with so many vendors and options on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? 

Make an informed decision with our free Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide. Inside, you’ll find information on the necessary technology, features, and security of board software, as well as guidance on how to select the right vendor for your organization. 

Ready to take your meeting agenda and minutes to the next level? Request a demo or a free trial of OnBoard, the board intelligence platform that empowers boards and committees to hold more effective, informed, and uncomplicated meetings. 

About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.