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5 Chief Financial Officer Resume Examples & Guide for 2024

Your chief financial officer resume must reflect an exceptional understanding of financial strategies and a track record in financial management. It should showcase your ability to navigate complex economic landscapes successfully. Demonstrate in meticulous detail your experience in optimizing a company's financial performance and enhancing its value. Make certain to highlight your proficient leadership in overseeing financial teams, ensuring they align with the organization's financial goals.

All resume examples in this guide

Chief Financial Officers sometimes find it tough to highlight their wide-ranging skills in finance and leadership within a short resume.

Our CFO resume guide offers easy-to-follow strategies and examples, helping you communicate your significant talents and successes clearly and briefly, as well as how to:

  • Use a standout CFO resume example that emphasizes the blend of strategy and operations.
  • Showcase profit optimization and risk management success without overwhelming the reader.
  • Underscore your modern toolset competence with a skills proficiency section.
  • Point out your continued professional growth through certifications, workshops, or influential financial conferences attended.

Looking for a related resume instead? Bookmark these pages for later:

CFO resume example that gets it right

Let’s discuss some helpful aspects of resume writing for a CFO role based on the given resume:

  • Highlight Relevant Certifications and Achievements: "CFE and Risk Compliance specialist" and "Won ACFE's Certified Fraud Examiner of the Year Award" indicate specific certifications and awards directly related to finance and fraud examination.
  • Quantify Achievements: Examples from the resume include: "Established ABC, LMP and XYZ as market leaders with more than $750 million in yearly revenue," "Reduced business operation inefficiencies and costs by 130%," and "Achieved consistent 8.5% YoY revenue growth."
  • Showcase Specific Financial Skills and Expertise: "Enhanced financial forecasts by reducing errors," "Prevented a $96 million financial loss," and skills like "Financial analysis" and "Risk and compliance management" emphasize the candidate's financial acumen.
  • Highlight Cross-Functional Collaboration and Results: Under strengths, "Achieved $10 million in annual cost savings by working closely with department heads" demonstrates the ability to work cross-functionally and achieve tangible results.

How to decide on a suitable format for your CFO resume

Nobody becomes a C-suite executive in a day. Unless you have a rich family who has a spare company in need of a CFO.

This means you already have at least 7-8 years of experience under your belt. As such, the reverse-chronological resume format is your best chance to showcase what you can do.

Alternatively, if most of your experience consists of:

  • Being a board member or advisor of different committees
  • Operating as a financial manager and advisor to companies in different business niches
  • Mix of financial positions at both nonprofit and for-profit companies

…you can use the hybrid resume format. This layout will help you display a versatile skills set, while boasting a variety of achievements.

If you’re applying for a CFO role for the first time, the hybrid resume can also provide enough space to share skills developed outside of formal job roles.

But remember, this is an executive-level position. Both hiring managers and C-suite professionals prefer more traditional formats.

Now, what about document types and formatting? A few weeks ago, we set out to test how different resume layouts perform with various ATS tools.

Here is what our research found out:

  • Header: The resume header contains your basic information, as well as links to your portfolio. Think of it as the business card you give to potential clients and partners.
  • File Format: You can send your resume both as an MS Word and a PDF file. But PDFs are preferable because they preserve the design, format and stylings you’ve used.
  • Section Headings: ATS software is sensitive when it comes to section headings. You must explicitly state what each section of your resume contains.
  • Length: You may be tempted to include every single past role you’ve held. This is where editing is key. Let the job ad guide you. Try to fit within a page.
  • Colors and Design: As we mentioned above, when reviewing executive-level resumes, recruiters look for a more traditional and conservative look.
  • Fonts: Keeping it traditional doesn’t mean you have to use Times New Roman. ATS tools accept all of the popular Google fonts, so don’t hesitate to choose one you like.

If you’ve already been more than 10 years in the workforce, be selective about the experience you share. After all, you don’t want a three- (or more) page-long resume.

Feature only relevant entries and try not to go back further than a decade.

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Pro tip

If you want your resume to look conservative, yet not bland, use your potential employer’s brand colors. But don’t go overboard with the overall design.

Wondering if your resume passes through the ATS checkers? Have a look-see below:

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The top sections on a CFO resume:

  • Professional Experience and Achievements: Shows the candidate's progression, key roles, and significant contributions specific to financial leadership.

  • Education and Certifications: Lists relevant degrees and financial certifications, validating the candidate's specialized knowledge.

  • Skills and Financial Expertise: Highlights specific financial proficiencies, from strategic planning to risk assessment, essential for a CFO role.

  • Board Memberships and Affiliations: Indicates involvement in strategic decision-making beyond day-to-day operations and showcases industry influence.

  • Endorsements and Recommendations: Offers third-party validations of the CFO's capabilities, achievements, and leadership qualities.

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What recruiters want to see on your resume:

  • Proven track record in strategic financial planning and execution: They've shown they can make smart money plans and follow through with them for a company.

  • Experience in mergers, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring: They know how to help companies join together, buy other companies, or change their setup to work better.

  • Demonstrated leadership in capital management and fundraising: They're good at handling a company's money and can find ways to get more money when needed.

  • Proficiency in risk management and regulatory compliance: They make sure the company follows money rules and avoid risky situations.

  • Board-level interactions and influence in corporate decision-making: They can talk with top people in a company and help make big decisions using their money know-how.

Curate the experience section of your Chief Financial Officer resume

You’ve already featured some of your accomplishments in the summary to grab recruiters’ attention. But your job is not done here.

There’s nothing worse than starting with a bang only to have things fizzle out by the time hiring managers get to the most important part of your resume.

Your goal is to explain how your career has progressed so far and where you see yourself in the future. Each experience section entry consists of the:

  • Name of your employer with a short description, outlining its business focus.
  • Company’s website
  • Job title you held during your tenure
  • Dates of your employment or your participation in a particular project. Note that consistent formatting is crucial to pass the ATS tests.
  • No more than 5 bullet points accentuate how your efforts have contributed to your employers business goals.

The best way to emphasize the impact of your work is by quantifying it. Lead each bullet point with an action verb, then explain the challenges you’ve managed to overcome.

However, it’s difficult to quantify without revealing proprietary information. Here are our tips on how to put measurable achievements and not worrying about NDAs:

  • Use Relative Metrics Over Absolute Numbers: Instead of specifying exact numbers (e.g., "Saved $5M in operational costs"), use relative metrics (e.g., "Reduced operational costs by 15%").
  • Benchmark Against Industry Standards: Comparing your company's performance against industry benchmarks can provide context. For instance, if the industry average for revenue growth is 5%, and your company achieved 12%, it shows your company is outperforming the industry.
  • Use Graphs and Visual Representations: Graphs can depict growth or reductions without necessarily revealing the exact numbers. For instance, a line graph showing upward revenue growth over a 5-year period gives a visual idea of performance without disclosing specifics.
  • Highlight Achievements in a Contextual Manner: If you launched a new financial system that led to cost savings, mention it as "Implemented a state-of-the-art financial system that resulted in significant operational efficiencies."
  • Avoid Sensitive Data: Refrain from disclosing information that could be used by competitors or adversely affect stock prices. For instance, you can avoid specifics about debt financing or mention mergers and acquisitions without revealing terms.
  • Use Aggregated Data: Instead of breaking down data by business unit or department, provide an overall figure. This can show the impact without revealing too much detail.
  • Highlight Awards and Recognitions: If your company or finance department has been recognized by industry bodies or has received awards, use them to validate your achievements without having to dive into sensitive specifics.
  • Discuss Training and Implementation: Highlighting the implementation of new training programs, software, or tools and their impacts ("Introduced a new financial modeling tool that improved forecast accuracy by 20%") showcases leadership and innovation.

Make sure you:

  • List your entries in a reverse-chronological order
  • Stay relevant to the job description
  • Don’t include positions you’ve held more than 10 years ago

Use the following sample experience section as a reference:

Elon Brown
Finance Manager, MBA, CFP
WVJ Wealth Management Partners
Mountain View, CA
Founded in 1989, WVJ Wealth Management Partners manages over $800 billion in assets from business and institutional clients.
  • Reduced business operation inefficiencies and costs by 130% over 614 client accounts in the span of 3 years.
  • Achieved consistent 8.5% YoY revenue growth for the top 17% companies under my management.
  • Negotiated client's vendor contracts, thus reducing a total of $50% of industry-average share in costs for the company's top 1% clients.

List a balanced mix of relevant chief financial officer skills

Why does your resume need a balanced skills section?

Because it proves that you are the well-rounded superstar fit for the position. You have to be able to communicate with both financial gurus and non-specialists.

To build it, will help you tailor your resume according to the job description.

First off, listing hard skills you have that match the job description will tick all the ATS relevancy checks. After all, it’s all about keyword targeting with ATS.

By contrast, the soft skills you cite will get you noticed by recruiters.

Let’s tackle the types of talents one by one. Starting with your technical abilities, we’ve created a list with the most popular CFO skills currently trending:

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34 technical skills for a Chief Financial Officer

  1. Financial analysis and reporting

  2. Financial forecasting and projections

  3. Financial planning and strategy

  4. Fiscal help

  5. Financial modeling

  6. Cash flow and tax management

  7. Cost management

  8. Data analytics

  9. Market analysis

  10. Revenue and profit growth

  11. Cross-functional coordination

  12. M&A

  13. Strategic business planning and execution

  14. Investment management

  15. Partnerships development

  16. Contract negotiation

  17. Stakeholder relations management

  18. Investor relations

  19. Information system management

  20. Risk compliance and management

  21. Regulatory compliance

  22. SEC

  23. SOX

  24. GAAP

  25. Standards and practices

  26. Performance management

  27. SQL

  28. Python

  29. Database management

  30. QuickBooks

  31. FreshBooks

  32. QlikView

  33. Hyperion/Oracle

  34. ERP

Most of these are easy to quantify. The other ones can be tested on the spot during the interview.

Yet, how do you describe your soft skills?

Soft skills showcase the impact of your professional efforts. Think about how your boss and colleagues talk about what you do.

Have you helped the company achieve its goals? Has your work shone the spotlight on your team? Does your work style inspire others around you?

Hiring managers are searching for leaders who can pull both the company and its employees up.

Again, you must be able to link your achievements to verifiable numbers. Use data and numbers to quantify the impact of your work:

Achieved 50% rise in annual cost savings year-on-year by working closely with department heads to streamline processes and identify cost-saving opportunities.
Resolved more than 5 ongoing regulatory compliance issues and implemented a comprehensive financial risk management system to preemptively identify and mitigate potential risks.
Investor relations
Increased the CLV by 70% per customer (120% over the industry average) by organizing and participating in over 27 conferences, where I presented case studies showing some the unexpected benefits and uses of our core product.

By doing so, you show that you take your job very seriously and consider the consequences of your actions.

If you can’t think of any relevant social talents off the top of your head, we have some suggestions for you:

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Necessary 30 soft skills for a chief financial officer

  1. Presentation skills

  2. Persuasion skills

  3. Explanation skills

  4. Communication skills

  5. Interpersonal skills

  6. Problem-solving skills

  7. Analytical skills

  8. Critical thinking

  9. Time management

  10. Organizational skills

  11. Task delegation

  12. Collaboration skills

  13. Leadership

  14. Results-oriented

  15. Data-driven

  16. Adaptability

  17. Flexibility

  18. Resourcefulness

  19. Creativity

  20. Accuracy

  21. Consulting skills

  22. Being innovative

  23. Being confident

  24. Hard working

  25. Accountable

  26. Responsible

  27. Multitasking skills

  28. Being able to think outside the box

  29. Fast learner

  30. Ability to work in a stressful environment

How to list your certifications and education on your resume

The education section on a CFO's resume is valuable for several reasons:

  • Foundational Knowledge: The complexities of financial management, strategic planning, and risk assessment often require a solid educational foundation. A degree in finance, accounting, business, or a related field provides this foundation.
  • Credibility: Holding a degree from a reputable institution can lend credibility to the CFO's qualifications. For senior-level roles, a master's degree (like an MBA or Master's in Finance) or higher can be seen as particularly prestigious.
  • Specialized Training: Apart from generic degrees, specialized training or certifications (like CPA, CFA, etc.) indicate expertise in specific areas of finance. These can be instrumental in certain industries or roles.
  • Continuous Learning: Listing additional courses, workshops, or seminars attended indicates a commitment to continuous learning and staying updated with the latest industry trends and practices.
  • Transferable Skills: Some educational backgrounds, even if not directly related to finance, can offer transferable skills valuable for a CFO. For example, a degree in law can be beneficial for a CFO dealing extensively with regulatory compliance.

While experience, skills, and accomplishments play a paramount role in a CFO's qualifications, the education section complements and reinforces the individual's suitability for the role.

So, here’s what your resume education should look like:

  • Degree and Major: Clearly state the type of degree (B.A., B.S., M.B.A., Ph.D., etc.) and the major or specialization.
    • Example: M.B.A. in Financial Management
  • Institution Name: Mention the university or educational institution's name.
    • Example: Harvard Business School
  • Graduation Date: You can choose to include the year of graduation. Some choose to omit this to avoid potential age bias.
    • Example: Graduated in 2020
  • Honors or Achievements: If you graduated with honors or any special recognition, mention it.
    • Example: Summa Cum Laude
  • Specialized Courses: If you've taken specific courses that are especially relevant to the CFO role or the industry you're applying to, list them.
    • Example: Advanced Risk Management Course
  • Thesis or Major Projects: If your thesis or a significant project has relevance to the position or showcases your expertise, it can be worth mentioning.
    • Example: Thesis on "Strategic Financial Forecasting in Tech Start-ups"
  • Professional Development: Workshops, seminars, or short courses that enhance your qualifications.
    • Example: Financial Leadership Workshop at Stanford University
  • Associations or Clubs: If you were part of finance or business-related student organizations or clubs, it could highlight leadership or active involvement in the field from an early stage.
    • Example: President, University Finance Club

Remember to list the items in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent educational achievement. Tailor the education section to the specific role and company to which you're applying, highlighting the most relevant educational accomplishments.

Here’s an example of how to do that:

M.B.A. in Financial Management
Harvard Business School
  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Thesis on Strategic Financial Forecasting in Tech Start-ups
  • President, University Finance Club

Outline your chief financial officer certificates

Finance and accounting is a huge academic and professional field. You can’t possibly specialize in everything, unless you dedicate your life to it.

This is where certifications come in handy. They show where your focus lies and how you want to continue developing professionally.

And your resume’s certifications are what makes you stand out among other job candidates. When talking about your qualifications, mention the:

  • Name of your certificate
  • Validity date, if applicable
  • Year you’ve obtained the document or projected year of completion
  • Name of the college, university or international organization, issuing the diploma

Some of these include:

Build a convincing CFO resume summary

Serving as a CFO means that both your financial and your sales skills are on par with current standards.

One of the top skills for a salesperson is persuasion. And this is what your resume summary must do for you, if you want to impress your potential employer.

Explain why you are the best fit for the position and highlight some relevant achievements to support your claims.

The basic structure of a resume summary is as follows:

  • Start with how many years of experience you have as a financial specialist.
  • Continue by sharing your proudest work achievements
  • Finish off by detailing your professional qualifications and skills you excel at
  • To make an even greater impact, don’t go over 100 words or roughly 5-6 sentences.

This will make it easy for you to pick which accomplishments to share, but also easy-to-read for recruiters.

Moreover, by naming your key talents and tools as the job description does, you’ll increase your chances of passing the ATS tests.

Think of the ATS software as a matchmaking tool. It checks whether the skills you’ve mentioned match the one in the job ad.

Check out some good examples we have prepared for you below:

Certified Financial Planner with 7 years of experience in budgeting, insurance and investment planning, as well as financial management strategies. Advised over 470 local small and medium companies on developing a sound business strategy for scaling their businesses with an 89% success rate. Specialized in data analytics with a good working knowledge in SQL and Python. Currently working on becoming a Certified Internal Auditor. FPA member since 2018.
CFE and Risk Compliance specialist of 15 years who specializes in government regulations, contract negotiations and public procurement. Won ACFE's Certified Fraud Examiner of the Year Award. Advised small and medium companies as a member of the City of Mountain View Finance and Investment Review Committee. Established ABC, LMP and XYZ as market leaders in their respective niches with more than $750 million in yearly revenue and a 3% YoY growth each. Ventured into the start-up world 4 years ago by guiding new companies on how to navigate federal rules and regulations.

Add some character to your resume by attaching other sections

Another way to impress hiring managers is to dedicate some space for other sections on your resume.

Being a C-level executive means that your professional activities don’t stop at working as a Finance manager. The ability to network and stay on top of industry trends is key.

As such, some relevant sections you can incorporate are:

  • Association memberships (ACCFO, AICPA, AAA, IIA, AFA, etc.)
  • Side projects, publications, and papers
  • Clubs, passion projects, and honors
  • Hobbies (for instance, networking and team building sports, such as golf)

Key takeaways

  • Choose the reverse-chronological format as your resume layout;

  • Include your professional titles, such as CPA or MBA in the resume header;

  • Turn your resume summary into a sales pitch by flaunting your best achievements;

  • Curate the experience section and tailor it to the job description;

  • Create a good balance between the social and technical skills on your resume;

  • Diversify your resume with additional CFO-relevant sections.

chief financial officer resume example

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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He has written more than 500 resume guides and deep-dive articles on how to create your resume and cover letter, that inspire job applicants to make a resume to be proud of. His work has been featured in Forbes, Zendesk, HubSpot, and Business Insider, and cited by top universities and educational institutions, like Thunderbird School of Management, Rochester University, University of Miami, and Udemy. Volen applies his deep knowledge and practical experience to write about career changes, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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