Corporate officer duties will vary depending on the type of officer. Large companies may have tens of thousands of employees who keep it functioning profitably and efficiently. At the very head, however, are a handful of officers who meet regularly to oversee all of the activities of the corporation. They accept the ultimate responsibility for the failure or success of their organization.

Officers' Roles Within a Corporation

The officers of a corporation are appointed by the board of directors. Officers are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a corporation. The corporation statute of each state will decide what officer positions need to be filled within each business. Generally, there are eight officer roles within an organization.

President or CEO

The president or CEO is responsible for overseeing all of the day-to-day operations of the business. Some of these responsibilities may be delegated to other officers. It is the responsibility of the CEO to sign stock certificates, major contracts, and other necessary legal documents.

The actions of a CEO are directed by the board of directors. For significant actions to occur, the CEO must follow corporate resolutions by acting on behalf of the corporation. It is important to note that a CEO can still serve on the board and participate as an active voting member. In fact, this frequently occurs within a small business. Another possibility is for the CEO to have what is called “ex-officio” status. This means that the CEO will attend and participate in board meetings, but does not have the right to vote.

To summarize, the responsibilities of the president (board member) include:

  • Making sure that an agenda is prepared for each board meeting
  • Presiding over the company's annual meeting and all board of directors meetings
  • Serving as the supervisor or liaison with the corporate executives who, in turn, report back to the board
  • Acting as the primary spokesperson for the entire organization
  • Signing documents on behalf of the corporation and the board of directors

Vice President (VP)

Depending on the corporation statute of each state, a vice president may or may not be required as an officer. When this position is required, the vice president must fill in when the board requests specific duties or if the CEO is unavailable. Based on the board's bylaws or an ad hoc basis, the vice president may select the members of specific committees or other duties.

Treasurer or Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

All of the financial matters of a corporation are the responsibility of the treasurer. In larger businesses, the treasurer may primarily oversee all financial matters, whereas in smaller businesses the job entails more daily financial responsibilities. Responsibilities include:

  • Preparing financial reports and presenting them to shareholders, officers, and the board
  • Maintaining all the corporate financial records

Secretary

It is the responsibility of the secretary to maintain corporate records, prepare board minutes, and organize shareholder meetings. Other tasks include:

  • Providing certification for banks and other financial institutions
  • Providing copies of any requested corporate documentation

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

The right-hand person of the CEO is the COO. The main responsibility of the COO is to oversee the company's daily operations. Often when a chief executive steps down, the COO will replace them in their position. The COO and CEO will often share responsibilities and duties. The primary responsibilities of a COO include:

  • Walking around the corporation to monitor and get a first-hand look at operations
  • Talking to individual managers and workers
  • Hiring and promoting employees.
  • Determining priorities for products, services, and projects
  • Determining the corporation's staffing and material resources

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Also known as a controller, comptroller, or treasurer, the CFO's primary responsibility is to manage and set the financial goals of an organization. Other job responsibilities include:

  • Developing processes and procedures for all financial activities
  • Making sure that the company follows all the necessary financial laws and regulations
  • Creating the internal controls for both cash and credit management

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The CIO manages all of the technology requirements of the organization.

Corporate Board Treasure

The corporate board treasurer is responsible for the financial health of the company, but a person in this position does not generally get involved in daily operations. Their duties usually include:

  • Generating, managing, and presenting the annual budget
  • Generating, implementing, and reviewing the financial policies
  • Managing and reviewing the investment activities of the business
  • Providing oversight regarding financial audits

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