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Chief Accounting Officer

CAO, Chief Accounting Officer, is an increasingly popular title across the finance industry. The CAO is responsible for overseeing all accounting functions such as ledger accounts, financial statements, and cost control systems.  Their focus includes regulatory compliance and practices and collaborating with the CFO developing financial strategies.

Common responsibilities comprise of:

  • Partnering with the CFO to determine accounting and tax implications for all material business decisions;
  • Reviewing all documentation and contracts in order to develop and improve internal controls;
  • Assisting with quarterly financial reporting - including drafting and reviewing SEC documents, ensuring quality, and administering strict timeline;
  • Managing transaction accounting, SOX, the closing process, and other financial controls;
  • Overseeing General Ledger functions; assure accuracy, timeliness, and conformity with professional accounting standards and best practices in accordance with GAAP;
  • Acting as a liaison to external auditing firms, while owning primary responsibility for the Company’s views on technical accounting matters;
  • Collaborating and contributing to the Senior Leadership Team and BOD to improve overall company performance;
  • Overseeing tax compliance and strategy, as well as, capital assets;
  • Working with senior management to ensure internal compliance.

CAO’s command an average salary of $172,000; with salaries ranging from $71,000 to $275,000. For CAOs, a four-year college degree, at minimum, with an accounting background and a certified public accountant certification, is a must. Common requirements include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance;
  • CPA certification;
  • Minimum of 5+ years of experience in a senior financial leadership position;
  • Previous experience managing finance and accounting functions;
  • Understanding of tax regulations and compliance;
  • Experience navigating through complete technical research required;
  • Strong proficiency in SAP or other software required;
  • Exceptional business acumen.

Many people don’t realize that the CAO and the CFO vary greatly in their roles and responsibilities. The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the monetary aspect of the business' entire operation. Matters like costs, budgets, treasury duties, or even on economic strategies and forecasts are within the CFO’s scope. The CAO focus more on company records – ensuring that all ledger accounts, expense statements, and cost control policies are in place. The CAO is focused more on the day-to-day aspects of the business' costs.

For financial professionals who are interested in operations and daily finance, the CAO is the perfect position.