At the helm of any successful organization are three key figures who steer the ship through the waters of the business world.
We all know the titles of CEO, CFO and COO, but what exactly are the differences?
It can often be difficult to tell on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes they get the responsibilities wrong themselves. So it’s no wonder if you’re confused too.
Over on LinkedIn, Nicolas Boucher did a great job explaining and illustrating the differences, which inspired me to write this post.
Here’s an easy-to-understand breakdown of their differences:
CEO: The Chief Executive Officer
- The CEO is the highest-ranking executive in a company and is responsible for making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and corporate operations.
- They set the company’s vision, strategic direction, and are often the public face of the company.
- They lead the charge in driving growth and innovation, focusing on global expansion and client acquisition.
- CEOs are also responsible for developing the brand and setting the company’s risk appetite.
CFO: The Chief Financial Officer
- The CFO is the senior executive responsible for managing the financial actions of a company.
- They oversee financial planning, record-keeping, and financial reporting to upper management and shareholders.
- Their main duties include tracking cash flow, financial planning, analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses, and proposing corrective actions.
- The CFO also focuses on optimizing existing markets, managing risk, and ensuring the company adheres to financial benchmarks.
- They are tasked with client retention and managing investment portfolios, ensuring that the company’s financial practices contribute to its stability and growth.
COO: The Chief Operating Officer
- The COO is tasked with overseeing the company’s ongoing operations and procedures.
- They are the executive responsible for executing the company’s strategic initiatives and ensuring daily operations align with company goals and policies.
- The COO coordinates departments for smooth execution, ensuring services are delivered efficiently and effectively.
- They manage operational aspects of market penetration and resource allocation to meet strategic objectives.
- Additionally, the COO is involved in mitigating operational risks and optimizing operational processes.
For a good visual overview of the points above, here’s the graphic Nicolas Boucher shared: