CFO vs. COO: What’s the Difference?


The chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) are two crucial executive positions. These occupations pay well and come with a variety of duties and benefits, but they also need substantial experience, education, and a certain set of talents. In this post, we define a CFO Vs COO and discuss how they differ from one another.

The focus of these positions is the fundamental distinction between them before we proceed. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) focuses on managing the company on a daily basis. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), on the other hand, focuses on the future by turning financial statements into the knowledge that organizations need to make choices.

Additionally, having both isn’t always necessary, depending on your company’s needs and the skills of your employees.

CFO Vs COO: Basic Definition

The highest financial executive in a corporation is the CFO. They manage an organization’s entire financial obligations, such as auditing, reporting, treasury, accounting, and reconciliation. Also, they make sure that the business maintains a healthy balance between revenue and expenses, which encourages business growth.

The chief operating officer is the person in control of a company’s daily operations. After the CEO, they frequently serve as the company’s second-highest executive. To ensure a business works smoothly, COOs work together with each department to analyze and design procedures.

Why Do You Need CFO and COO?


In the past, COOs primarily worked in the manufacturing sector and were concerned with things like processes, procedures, and safety. But in more recent times, the position has grown to support the CEO. The COO is frequently referred to as “second in command.”

With simple business models, startups and small companies can often survive for a while with simply a part-time certified professional bookkeeper or accountant. However, you will require CFO consulting services as your company starts to expand and develop. CFO tasks involve reviewing and analyzing financial data for a business, developing budgets, reporting business results, and also keeping tabs on expenditures and spending.

Difference Between CFO Vs COO

Attributes CFO COO
Responsibilities The CFO is only in charge of the business’s financial operations. Whether it’s auditing, budgeting, financial analysis, or investing, they are in charge of all the various financial divisions in a firm. Chief Operating Officer is the CEO’s immediate subordinate. The COO transforms the CEO’s strategic plan into a workable business plan. They keep an eye on every operation and guarantee that groups are working to meet the company’s objectives.
Hierarchy Along with the COO and other C-suite positions, the CFO is employed by the CEO and reports to them on a level below. The COO reports directly to the CEO and is second in leadership.
Duties CFO only has the company’s financial health and expansion in mind. They keep an eye on the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies to address them and emphasize growth. Additionally, when it comes to financial matters involving investments, projects, and plans, they are expected to provide advice to the board of directors, CEO, and COO. The job of the COO is determined by the needs of the organization. The everyday operations of a firm are often overseen by the COO. Depending on the organization, the COO’s duties might vary. Also, their functional job is not precisely defined, although it may encompass culture, marketing, sales, strategy, research, and resources.
Strategic Plans Scope The Chief Financial Executive is a crucial executive team member in charge of managing all financial operations at a company. They oversee your finance and accounting team, examine your company’s financial data, compare it to your objectives, and offer strategic counsel for scaling and expanding the company. Creating and carrying out the company’s strategic plans is commonly the responsibility of the COO. It is a highly collaborative task that entails coordination and communication with the entire organization. They are also in charge of obtaining the resources (infrastructure, people, procedures, and systems) needed to meet demand.
Liaising The CFO only communicates with people about finance. They are responsible for establishing and preserving connections with financiers, banks, and other financial intermediaries. Moreover, some CFOs also communicate with the board, depending on the needs of the business. Any communication that the CEO requests will typically be handled by the COO. They are typically in charge of the business’s internal affairs.
Challenges The COO has various responsibilities and, thus, faces many challenges. The challenge that COOs have is that they must be able to adapt their strategies as needed. A COO must be extremely flexible and have a wide range of skills, knowledge, and experience. The major duty of overseeing the company’s overall financial health falls on the CFO. CFOs must have a high level of expertise in their field. They do the kind of work where errors are not acceptable. However, their problem goes beyond only the business. They must also be knowledgeable and well-prepared to handle any economic instability that may arise.

CFO and COO: Key Takeaways

In CFO vs. CEO, the key takeaways from CFO perspectives are:

  • Quarterly and annual tax filings.
  • Leading teams of financial experts and controllers.
  • Planning current and forecasting financial reports.
  • Also, ensuring legal compliance and corporate policies.
  • Monitoring the capital allocation and funding strategies of the organization.
  • Determining investment strategies by assessing finances and credit risk.
  • Furthermore, mitigate risk by examining the company’s obligations and investments.
  • Additionally, managing teams of financial analysts and financial controllers.

Whereas critical takeaways for the COO role are:

  • Submit significant progress reports to the CEO.
  • Also, managing relationships with partners and suppliers.
  • Establishing goals for performance and productivity.
  • Further, developing and executing business strategies and plans.
  • Taking part in capital infusions like investments and organizational pacts.
  • Supervising routine operations of the organization and the work of executives.

Related Post


Who is superior in CFO Vs COO?

A COO is superior to a CFO. COO, however, is typically regarded as the second-highest C-suite executive post, behind the CEO.

Who does the COO report to?

The COO reports to the CEO. Whereas the CEO reports to the Board of Directors. However, there are times when the CoO will report directly to the Board of Directors.

What qualifications must a COO have?

COOs have substantial professional experience in addition to an excellent educational background. A successful COO will have a range of positions, especially within a single firm, to understand all the many components of an organization and how they interact. COOs should also have excellent communication skills, flexibility, and leadership qualities.

Is COO a greater rank than VP?

More work is typically assigned to the COO than an Executive Vice President. But compared to a COO, an Executive Vice President typically has more authority and responsibility. A COO is below an Executive Vice President because of this.

Can a CFO serve as COO as well?

In comparison, CFO Vs COO, CFOs gravitate more toward the Chief Operating Officer position as their responsibilities and skill sets have expanded. In addition, to the combined CFO/COO function, the CFO has a unique position that makes him an even better strategic partner for the CEO.

Who has higher income in CFO Vs COO?

The median remuneration for a CFO in the United States as of May 2022 was approximately $400,000 per year. The average yearly salary of a chief financial officer (CFO) might vary depending on a variety of criteria. CFOs in the poorest 25% should anticipate making $300,000 annually, while those in the top 75% should anticipate making $500,000 annually.

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Author Details
Financial Advisor , The Bookify
Hi! I am Madeline Ortega, a financial advisor. I offer free financial tips. Since 2016, I have written more than 1,000 articles on managing your small business finances.

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