The accounts of any company are usually kept by an accounts department which, although having a head accountant will ultimately be responsible to the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The CFO is an accountant by trade but has graduated to a higher level, a level that brushes shoulders and is in fact part of the company’s higher circle. One of the main tasks of a CFO, apart from ensuring the accounts are managed correctly, is to advise and keep the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) aware of any and all financial situations that may occur or have the potential to occur. This means that the CFO must be able to look at the company’s accounts and recognize peaks and troughs and link those same peaks and troughs to activities in the company’s business. By recognizing the reason for any troughs, the company may be able to avoid similar occurrences in the future and also, by recognizing and associating any peaks to the company’s activities, duplicate them as often as possible. Of course the final decisions will always lie with the CEO but when finances are concerned they will usually follow the advice of their CFO. To associate these peaks and troughs in the accounts with the company’s activities, the CFO must have a reasonable knowledge of the business which the company is involved in and that is what is often a sticking point for accountants that want to take that step up from lone accounting and dealing only with ledgers and the like. One person that probably understands the duties of a successful CFO more than anyone else is Maureen O’Connell who has been a successful CFO for many years and with several different companies. If you were to visit the official site for Maureen O’Connell you would see that the large majority if not all the companies she has worked for, have been in the publishing industry and so as the years passed and her experience grew, she became more knowledgeable about publishing. Of course she was already qualified as an accomplished accountant and so her resume was complete when she was taken on as the CFO for Scholastic, an American publishing Corporation. What perhaps made the resume even better was the fact that it included being CFO and Vice President for the Publishers Clearing House and CFO and Chief Administration Officer (CAO) for Barnes and Noble, two of the most prestigious publishing companies in the country. Maureen O’Connell has said a lot about CFOs in her time and has been known to say that the initials CFO could just as easily stand for Chief Futures Officer as it does for Chief Financial Officer. The reason why she says this is because she claims that the majority of her work is concerned not with the accounts of what the company has done but more with where the company will go in the future. It is in fact perhaps the success in correctly judging this that makes the difference between a successful CFO and a failed CFO.