The Difference Between a CFO and a CPA

CPA

CFO

Independent Not independent
Offsite On site
Focus on advising business owners on running business Directs financial goals, objectives, and strategies
General business management consulting General business management
Focus on accounting systems and financial results Focus 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 annually Works side-by-side with management
Business tax advice, planning, and preparation of tax returns Tax planning and general knowledge of taxes
Financial closing of books, including adjusting entries Financial closing of books, including adjusting entries
Financial statement preparation, including Accountant’s
Report
Generation of internal financial statements
Compiliation, Review, or Audit of financial records Financial analysis and recommendations
Budgeting and forecasting Budgeting and forecasting
Business plans Business plans
Recommends accounting systems. Assists with setting up of
books and records.
Implements and maintains accounting systems.
Advises on risk management Manage risk
Assists in raising capital Executes capital raising strategies
Reviews legal documents and advises accordingly Manages legal contracts and activities
Reviews IT activities and advises accordingly Manages IT activities
Advises on environmental issues Manages environmental issues
Advises on quality assurance function and makes
recommendations
Manages quality assurance function
Advises and trains accounting staff Hires, manages, coaches, and trains accounting staff
Analyzes cash management and makes
recommendations
Performs cash management
Inventory/cost analysis Inventory/cost management and analysis
Advises on HR function and makes
recommendations
Manages HR function
Fraud detection. Recommends internal controls. Implements internal controls to prevent theft
Advises start-up companies Helps build infrastructure
Personal tax advice, planning, and preparation of
tax returns
N/A