The Difference Between a CFO and a CPA



IndependentNot independent
OffsiteOn site
Focus on advising business owners on running businessDirects financial goals, objectives, and strategies
General business management consultingGeneral business management
Focus on accounting systems and financial resultsFocus on business management, accounting practices, and
financial results
Reviews and recommends changes to policies, systems,
and processes
Manage and develop policies, system, and process
Meets with management monthly, quarterly, or annuallyWorks side-by-side with management
Business tax advice, planning, and preparation of tax returnsTax planning and general knowledge of taxes
Financial closing of books, including adjusting entriesFinancial closing of books, including adjusting entries
Financial statement preparation, including Accountant’s
Generation of internal financial statements
Compilation, Review, or Audit of financial recordsFinancial analysis and recommendations
Budgeting and forecastingBudgeting and forecasting
Business plansBusiness plans
Recommends accounting systems. Assists with setting up of
books and records.
Implements and maintains accounting systems.
Advises on risk managementManage risk
Assists in raising capitalExecutes capital raising strategies
Reviews legal documents and advises accordinglyManages legal contracts and activities
Reviews IT activities and advises accordinglyManages IT activities
Advises on environmental issuesManages environmental issues
Advises on quality assurance function and makes
Manages quality assurance function
Advises and trains accounting staffHires, manages, coaches, and trains accounting staff
Analyzes cash management and makes
Performs cash management
Inventory/cost analysisInventory/cost management and analysis
Advises on HR function and makes
Manages HR function
Fraud detection. Recommends internal controls.Implements internal controls to prevent theft
Advises start-up companiesHelps build infrastructure
Personal tax advice, planning, and preparation of
tax returns

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