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How to become a CFO in India? Salary, work experience, qualifications required

Becoming a CFO in India is one of the highest career peaks one could achieve in the field of Finance. A CFO (Chief Financial Officer) as the name suggests sits at the helm of a company’s finance department and supervises and manages all accounting and finance activities.

Before long, the major responsibility of the CFOs was to maintain the books and records of the company, facilitate financial reporting, and take care of statutory compliances.

However, the recent introduction of techno-finance skills and capabilities has vastly changed the roles of a conventional CFO.

Becoming a CFO in India is now more about how you can take better decisions for the company and less about the financial reporting aspects of the job.

CFOs are now also required to influence company decisions, by analyzing the company’s data and introducing better procedures to optimize the company’s efficiency and performance.

In India, the role of CFO is highly respected and well paid. The salary of a CFO in India can average about 34 lakhs pa.

Most importantly, A CFO is highly crucial to a company’s operation and has a major influence on business decisions since he/she understands the financial aspects of any decision better than any of the company’s board members.

Let’s take a look at how you can become a CFO in India!

Steps to becoming a CFO in India

If you are looking to become a CFO in India, there are various options you can go about.

The first thing to remember is that work experience is highly necessary for becoming a CFO.

The next is qualifications.

If you are one of those who plan well ahead and are still in school, it would be advantageous for you to pursue commerce in the 11th and 12th grades to forge ahead on the path.

From here, you can also take up the CA path, by studying for the foundation exams.

Alternatively, you can just go for a bachelor’s degree, the next step would then be to complete a bachelor’s degree, preferably in accounting or finance background. A BCom with Honours in Accounting or Economics would be the way to go.

From here on out you have plenty of options,

You can still pursue the CA course, by going for the IPCC exams.

It’s important to remember that going the CA path can absolutely boost your career opportunities as a CFO.

This is because many companies prefer to appoint Chartered Accountants with considerable experience, as their CFO. Thus having an accounting charter can help you greatly in becoming a CFO in India.

Apart from that, you can also go for specializations like CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CMA(Certified Management Accountant).

A CFA specialization can also be a powerful boost to your CFO job opportunities. Learn more about CFA opportunities.

How long does it take to become a CFO after the 12th?

If you are planning your career as a CFO, you might have to plan a long way ahead. CFOs sit at the top of a corporate’s finance hierarchy. Potentially, it might take you a good part of your early 20s or 30s to climb that corporate ladder.

However, the time required solely depends on your academic qualifications, and your own talent and hard work.

For example, to become a CFO in India, a Chartered Accountant with 10+ years of experience might just as well be appointed as a CFO directly, while someone with a CA+CFA certification might climb the ladder in only 2-3 years.

It shall also depend on the size of the company, the talent available in the region, and other location and economical factors.

Alternatively, you can also start your CFO career by working in a startup. 

You won’t require a lot of experience for working as a CFO in a startup and it will give you an in-depth experience and holistic understanding of how the finances of business work.

If your objective is to become a CFO in a big corporate firm, then you should aim to rise through the levels by upskilling yourself in the finance domain and obtaining valuable finance-related certifications.

The salary that you can expect as a CFO in India

Again, your paycheck as a CFO will depend entirely on the kind of company you are working in, and other factors such as location, and the government policies regulating the companies in the region.

The average salary for a CFO in India is 34 LPA.

While the highest CFO paychecks can go up to 1-2 crores per annum, however, they mostly apply to large-sized MNCs. 

Your city of work can also heavily influencer your paycheck.

In tier2 cities, the average CFO salary can easily go up to 50 LPA.

Your compensation would oftentimes also depend upon the skills and qualifications that you have.

For example, a CA in the role of a CFO might be compensated less than a CA+CFA in the same role.

Thus you can effectively increase your job market value by constantly upskilling yourself.

Note: Numerical figures taken from Payscale.

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