Can I Become a CFO With Only a Bachelor’s Degree?

CFOThere are chief financial officers all over the country that have only a bachelor’s degree, but the competition is intense. For example, many CFOs have found success working for smaller companies as well as large corporations. But even with a smaller company, there is stiff competition getting a CFO position with only a bachelor’s degree and CFO candidates need to find ways to stand out.

Get Your Degree in Accounting

Accounting is the most likely degree that will lead to a position as CFO in a company today. Accountants understand everything there is to know about a company’s finances. These are the people who compile and interpret financial statement for the business and are most likely to understand problems a company has had in the past and be able to make recommendations for the future success of the corporation. It is possible to become a CFO with a bachelor’s degree in another aspect of business, but you will most likely need to augment your knowledge with a master’s degree in business administration.

Become a Certified Public Accountant

In addition to having an accounting degree, earning your CPA credentials is critical to getting the job of a CFO that you desire. In order to become a CPA, there is a certain amount of experience required and examinations that must be passed. Passing the CPA examinations demonstrates a certain level of ability the same way the bar exams do for those in the field of law. Becoming a certified public accountant also adds prestige credibility to any resume.

Focus on a Smaller Company

Smaller companies often offer smaller salaries, but these salaries are usually still well into the six figure sums and represent good jobs. More importantly, the smaller salaries attract fewer people looking to be a CFO. Fewer applicants for the job means less competition, and this is the heart of acquiring a CFO position with only a bachelor’s degree.

Focus on Longevity

Every business field has unique challenges, and if you have ever worked in the same industry for several years, you know what they are.  Focusing on spending a significant amount of time in the same field or job will give you an advantage when competing for CFO jobs with outsiders. For example, some businesses have issues with raw material acquisition that other businesses do no have. Other business may have not issues with raw materials but may have seasonal challenges with their sales. Knowing what issues are a special problem for a particular business and its industry will give you a strong competitive advantage for a CFO position.

In conclusion, you can become a CFO with only a bachelor’s degree, but by focusing on companies with less competition, spending time developing your specialized knowledge, and earning your CPA credentials will give you the edge that you need to succeed.