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Chief Financial Officer vs. Treasurer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

The roles of chief financial officer (CFO) and treasurer are both important in an organization’s financial management. While the CFO is responsible for the financial strategy of the company, the treasurer manages the day-to-day financial operations. In this article, we compare and contrast the duties of a CFO and treasurer, and we provide information on the skills and experience you need to pursue these positions.

What is a Chief Financial Officer?

The Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, is responsible for the financial planning and management of a company. They work with the CEO and other executives to develop long-term plans and strategies for the company. The CFO oversees the accounting, finance and treasury departments to ensure that all financial reporting is accurate and up-to-date. They develop financial models and forecasts to predict the company’s future financial performance. The CFO also manages the company’s investment portfolio and raises capital by issuing equity and debt.

What is a Treasurer?

Treasurers are responsible for the financial management of an organization. They oversee the organization’s budget and make sure that it is adhered to. They also oversee the organization’s investments and make decisions about how to best use the organization’s money. Treasurers also work with the organization’s bank or banks to make sure that the organization has the best possible financial arrangement. In addition, treasurers may also be responsible for managing the organization’s risk exposure and insurance coverage.

Chief Financial Officer vs. Treasurer

Here are the main differences between a chief financial officer and a treasurer.

Job Duties

Chief financial officers typically manage larger teams and take a higher-level approach to finance, while treasurers focus more on specific tasks and operate at a lower level in the organization. For example, a chief financial officer might develop companywide financial strategies and policies, such as deciding which investments are most promising for the business or evaluating how different financial systems can work together. A treasurer might then implement these decisions by working closely with the IT department to ensure the new system works properly.

Similarly, treasurers often execute day-to-day financial operations, such as managing cash flow and making low-level spending decisions. For example, they might decide which bills to pay each month and when to make payments, or they may monitor bank accounts and report any unusual activity to other departments. Chief financial officers usually oversee reporting systems, like monitoring profit and loss statements or reviewing financial reports from treasurers.

Job Requirements

Chief financial officers (CFOs) and treasurers are both responsible for the financial health of their organizations. CFOs typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field, though many also have a master’s degree. Some organizations may prefer candidates with an MBA or other advanced degree. CFOs must also have several years of experience working in finance or accounting before they can be considered for a top position.

Treasurers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics or a related field. They must also have several years of experience working in finance or accounting. Some organizations may prefer candidates with an MBA or other advanced degree. Treasurers may also pursue certifications through professional organizations like the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

Work Environment

Chief financial officers typically work in an office setting, but they may travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. They also spend time working on reports and other documents that require them to be at their desk for long periods of time.

Treasurers often work in a more hands-on environment than chief financial officers. This means they’re usually out in the field, visiting locations where their company’s products are being sold or used. They may also visit vendors and suppliers to ensure they’re meeting the needs of the business.


Both chief financial officers and treasurers use financial skills to perform their jobs. This includes an understanding of financial statements, accounting principles and investment strategies. They also both need to have strong analytical skills to be able to identify trends and assess risks.

However, there are some key differences in the skills that these two professionals use. For example, a treasurer is going to need to have more in-depth knowledge about banking products and services, as well as regulations surrounding banking. They may also need to have skills related to risk management and insurance. A chief financial officer, on the other hand, is going to need to have stronger leadership skills, as they often oversee a team of accountants and finance professionals. They may also need to have more experience with developing budgets and forecasting future financial needs.


The average salary for a chief financial officer is $214,906 per year, while the average salary for a treasurer is $111,162 per year. The salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the industry in which the company operates and the level of experience the individual has in the field.


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