What’s the difference between a CFO and a CPA?

CPAs focus on historical information and providing snap shots of your business through financial statements and tax returns. A CFO consultant takes your historical financial information along with industry statistics and best practices to help plan your company’s future by showing you where and when to take action.

CFO Consultant vs. CPA

Often our business clients come to us looking for our CPA services but what they really need are our CFO consulting services (or both). The two roles are very different. Here is a short overview of the differences between CPA services and CFO consulting services.

Certified Public Accountant

A CPA is focused primarily on historical data to produce the monthly, quarterly, and annual accounting and to prepare financials, reviews, taxes, and audits. CPAs typically spend 90% of their time on accounting and tax and 10% on business.

Our CPAs offer:

Chief Financial Officer

CFOs usually have an education in finance or economics and have an MBA or a masters in a finance or the industry. Many CFOs are certified public accountants(s). A CFO is focused on the company’s current financial health as well the long term view of the company’s goals. The CFO works with the executive team to assess financial risk and develop and execute strategies. CFOs usually spend 90% of their time on the business and only 10% on accounting.

A CFO is in charge of nearly all financial aspects of a company, their primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Assess Risk Management
  • Business analysis
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Establish Financial/Banking Relationships
  • Financial Advisory
  • Financial Process Improvement
  • Retirement and Succession Planning

At Heier and Bernstein we offer both CPA and CFO services. We have staff who are Certified Public Accounts, have MBAs, and CFO experience operating successful and profitable businesses.

Learn more about our CFO Consulting Services and our Business Accounting Services.