c-suite roles and responsibilities

An Exclusive Overview of C-Suite Executives Roles and Responsibilities

| 9 minutes read

Introduction

A person joins a company with the ambition of being in the top-level management, for example, becoming a world-class CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, and CMO of a company. But while most of us dream so big, we sometimes forget that big dreams come with more significant responsibilities. It is not a cakewalk to be a part of the top-level management as it needs a lot of hard work and experience regarding the particular position. But once you acquire these, it is not difficult to reach there. We will be discussing the crucial roles and responsibilities of 5C’s (CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, and CMO), and who they are. Let’s find out. Kindly read till the end to understand the c-suite roles and responsibilities in a better way.

Who is the CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, and CMO?

CEO is a borrowed idea from the United States. CEO was first stated in Section 2(18) of the Companies Act, 2013.

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. He/she is the highest-ranked individual of a company. The CEO of a company is accountable for the overall success of a business and accelerates the top-level managerial decisions.

CEO is the public figure of the company and also a link between the board of directors and operational managers. The board of directors elects a CEO to ensure smooth business operations.

Whereas, the role of the COO is quite misunderstood because his/her responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the type of organization, what needs the organization is trying to meet, and other positions that exist within the business. For example, if a company has a CMO, the COO will less likely deal with marketing responsibilities. Most importantly, the COO acts as a leader, ensuring that the organization and employees are forwarding the vision of the CEO. 

On the other side, the Chief Financial Officer of a company has major responsibility which includes planning, managing, and running all the finance activities of a company, along with business planning, budgeting, forecasting, and negotiations. In short, CFO’s are fully responsible for the overall financial activities of a company. 

The chief technology officer (CTO) is the executive, responsible for managing technology within an organization; that can include everything from creating a technology strategy through to cybersecurity and onto product development. Technology officers need to understand broad technology trends and be able to align innovation with business goals.

A CMO (chief marketing officer) is a C-level corporate executive responsible for activities in an organization that have to do with communicating and delivering offerings that are important for customers, clients, or business partners.

A CMO’s primary mission is to simplify growth and increase sales by developing a comprehensive marketing plan that will promote brand identity and help the organization gain a competitive edge. In order to achieve their set target and effectively shape their companies’ public profile, CMOs must be exceptional leaders and assume the voice of the customer across the company.

Liabilities

CEO

A CEO is also liable for every offense, even the crimes based on negligence, with regards to the management. For example, if the balance sheet shows a misleading statement or if there is any omission, the CEO will be responsible. A CEO is also not permitted to show any interest in something which conflicts with the company’s interests. The CEO shares the performance report directly to and is accountable to, the board of directors.

COO

COO stands for Chief Operating Officer. In the chain of command (hierarchy for reporting relationships), the COO is placed at the second. In a few organizations, COO is also known by other terms such as “chief operations officer”, or “operations director”.

The COO is the senior executive who is responsible for managing the day-to-day managerial and operational function of a company. 

The COO is appointed purposely to execute the business plans. The operating officer must help the company to grow and ensure its financial strength effectively. He/she is the person who is responsible for the management of the departments of a company which is production, marketing, and sales.

There is a need for a COO because the CEO cannot invest his time in the day to day operations of the business. There is a need for the COO, and he will be responsible for the supervision and assuring the smooth functioning of the day-to-day operations of the company and at the same time reporting it to the CEO.

CFO

CFO stands for “Chief Financial Officer”. The financial officer is the executive who is responsible for monitoring the cash flow and the overall financial activities of the organization.

The CFO is considered to be the same as an accountant or a controller and also checks the financial reports with accuracy.

The overall work for CFO is to maintain and check the complete financial operations of the company. Also, he/she analyzes the financial strengths and weaknesses of a company and gives suggestions for its improvement. 

CTO

CTO has responsibility for managing the physical and personnel technology infrastructure, including deployment, systems management, and the development of technical operations personnel. 

A Chief Technology Officer job description could also include some practical aspects — if a tech team doesn’t have the knowledge or resources to complete a task, then it is down to the CTO to find a solution. It’s no wonder they have to obtain a wide variety of tech and ‘soft’ skills.

CMO

Chief marketing officers report to the CEO or chief operating officer (COO) and hold advanced degrees in both business and marketing. A CMO who has a strong background in information technology may also contain the job title chief marketing technologist (CMT). In some larger organizations, however, those positions are separate, and the CMT reports to the CMO.

Roles and Responsibilities of C-suite executives

CEO

Roles

The CEO’s role is to design the strategies, policies for the organization, and to execute the plans, and also to direct the subordinates to accomplish the goal of the company. 

The CEO’s role is also to organize, direct, and control the goals made and also to support strategic planning.

Responsibilities

  1. Planning, implementing, developing, and directing the organization’s operational and monetary function and performance towards the company’s vision and mission.
  2. Acts as a strategic partner by developing and implementing the plans and programs of a company.
  3. Makes necessary analysis and also makes recommendations on a plan for the long term growth of a company.
  4. Takes initiatives by introducing new strategies according to the needs of a company.
  5. Implements, and enforces the policies and procedures of the organization that will enhance the operational and financial effectiveness of the company.
  6. Effectively communicates with the organization and with the Board of Directors.
  7. Provides guidance and advice to others about the execution of a plan or in a problematic situation.
  8. Continuously instruct the department by improving the planning and the budgeting process.
  9. Evaluates the company’s financial, sales, and marketing structure to plan for continual improvements and to increase the operative efficiency.
  10. To encourage the members of the company, he daily interacts with them and mentors them.
  11. Ensures that the company wherever it does business maintains a responsibility towards the social environment.
  12. He/She also analyses the risk and ensures that the necessary steps are taken to minimize it. 

COO

Roles

The responsibility of a COO might slightly differ from one organization to another. The COO controls the company’s internal affairs and policies. There is no detailed list that describes the job requirements for the position of COO. An Operating Officer may be hired for executing strategies/plans developed by the top-level authorities, to oversee the organization’s ongoing business operation.

Responsibilities

Responsibilities of an operating officer are not precisely fixed; it varies from company to company, and also the nature of the work the company gives. A few of the day-to-day responsibilities are:-

  1. Analyzing the productiveness of business strategies.
  2. Establishing those policies where it helps to achieve the company’s vision and mission.
  3. Handling the issues of the staff and also supervising them.
  4. Developing and enacting the methods to meet the benchmarks and goals of a company.
  5. Ensuring the production and delivery of the products on time.
  6. Managing the working capital of the company.
  7. Ensuring inventory management of a company.

CFO

Roles

  1. Raising funds- the CFO takes the responsibility to raise the funds of the company. It is up to the CFO to assess the need and dig out the best possible way to raise funds.
  2. Understanding the capital market- as a lot of risks are involved. In contrast, trading in the capital or securities market, the financial officer must evaluate and calculate the risk, and it all depends on the financial officer regarding the distribution of profits if earned.
  3. Profit planning- for any business, the primary objective is to earn a profit. So the CFO must plan about how to make a profit and look after the judicial mix of the variable and fixed factors that can contribute to the profitability of the firm.
  4. Should ensure that the funds raised are appropriately allocated.
  5. Financial control-proper evaluation of funds is required to control the finance of a company.

Responsibilities

  1. Provides direction, leadership, and management to the finance or accounting team of the company. 
  2. Should develop financial and tax strategies.
  3. Whenever it is necessary, the CFO should arrange for debt and equity financing.
  4. Should participate in critical decisions which are related to finance as a member of the executive management team
  5. Should look after the employee benefit plans with a particular emphasis on the maximization of the cost-effective benefits packages.
  6. Should report the financial results to the Board of Directors.
  7. Should ensure that the record-keeping of the books of accounts meets the requirements of the auditors and government agencies.
  8. Manage the departments of accounting, compliance, legal, tax, treasury, and investors.
  9. To look after the company’s business transaction processing systems.
  10. Identifies the financial risks and opportunities for the company.
  11. Provides strategic recommendations to the CEO and members of the executive management team related to the finance or budgeting issues. 

CTO

Roles

  1. Developing the company’s strategy for using technological resources
  2. Ensuring technologies are used efficiently, profitably, and securely
  3. Evaluating and implementing new systems and infrastructure

Responsibilities

  1. Develop technical aspects of the company’s strategy to ensure alignment with its business goals
  2. Discover and implement new technologies that yield competitive advantage
  3. Help departments use technology profitably
  4. Supervise system infrastructure to ensure functionality and efficiency
  5. Build quality assurance and data protection processes
  6. Monitor KPIs and IT budgets to assess technological performance
  7. Communicate technology strategy to partners and investors

CMO

Roles

  1. Building new marketing capabilities
  2. Shaping the company’s public profile
  3. Changing to reflect new consumer buying behavior

Responsibilities

  1. Listen to the trends of the market and direct the market research efforts of the company
  2. Communicate with other departments to guide a unified approach to customer service, distribution, etc. that meets market demands
  3. Define marketing strategies to support the company’s overall strategy and objectives
  4. Develop a feasible marketing plan for the department and oversee its day-to-day implementation
  5. Plan and organize marketing functions and operations (product development, branding, communications, etc.), and ensure they project the company’s unique “voice.”
  6. Design and coordinate promotional campaigns, PR, and other marketing efforts across channels (digital, press, etc.)
  7. Create a reliable network of strategic partnerships

Challenges

C-suite executives face a lot of challenges. Some are the following:

  1. Coping with market changes driven by unforeseen global events
  2. Creating new business models that meet evolving customer requirements
  3. Promoting corporate responsibility to help address issues such as climate change and equality
  4. Identifying their successors to ensure business continuity
  5. Ensuring compliance with changing tax codes and industry regulations
  6. Attracting and maintaining top talent, including enhancing the diversity of the workforce to include more women and minorities in leadership roles.

5C’s Pointers Differentiation

CEO and COO

  1. The CEO is the one who makes policies and strategies for the company, and the COO is the one who helps to execute/fulfill these. 
  2. The CEO is the one who exchanges talks with the stakeholders and investors. He makes all the crucial decisions related to the company. COO looks after the day to day business operation of the business.
  3. CEO is considered at the highest level, and the COO is after him second in the chain of command. 

CEO and CFO

  1. Responsibilities may vary between the two as the CEO is responsible for all the activities of the organization, and the CFO is only accountable for the financial actions.
  2. The position of the CEO is managed by the Board of Directors, while the CFO has to report to the CEO. 
  3. The CEO has the responsibility of making major corporate decisions and managing the overall operations while the CFO only focuses on the related financial issues.
  4. The CFO has a vital role as they have to make connections with investors, bankers, and lenders. The CEO is the front face of the company, but they do not make any such connection as the CFO makes.
  5. The CEO looks and analyzes all the reports submitted by the financial officer to make necessary business decisions if required.

CFO and COO

  1. COO is the person who is responsible for accessing/operating day to day business operations of the company. In contrast, the CFO is in charge of the financial planning of the company.
  2. CFO decides where and when to invest, and he also minimizes the risk related to the company’s finance to maximize the value of the organization, and the COO is the one who executes the strategic plans already set by the CEO of the company.
  3. In some industries, the COO is also known as the Executive Vice President of Operations, and the CFO is known as the financial director.

CTO and CMO

  1. CTO assures the technologies are used efficiently in the process of planning, whereas, CMO develops marketing strategies that support the company’s overall strategy and objectives.
  2. The primary purpose of CTO is to encourage and supervise the system infrastructure to ensure functionality & efficiency whereas, CMO implement marketing strategies for the department and check day-to-day operations.

Conclusion

As we discussed in the above information, choosing the right C’s helps you to accomplish your business goal, not only this it also helps to monitor day-to-day business activities and operations. Also, CTO helps to utilize technology in planning and other business activities in the most efficient way. Whereas, an appropriate CFO will take care of all the financial activities of the company. Lastly, CMO takes care of the marketing angle of products and services. So overall we simply mean to say that, they (CFO, CEO, COO, CTO, and CMO) cover all the areas in business, and it will be worth adding 5C’s in your organization.

Planning + Executing + Financing + Marketing = Success and Growth

This is how, after combining their role in a business, you get success.

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