Chief Financial Officer

Develop the skills, knowledge and authority required to provide financial leadership and drive improvement in the finance function and across your organisation.

access 365 days' access
cpd hours 21 CPD Hours
price £330+vat €380+vat HK$3300 A$650NZ$760

The CFO is one of the most prestigious roles in business – the partner and natural deputy to the CEO. As a senior leadership position, it calls for a credible and trusted professional who can look beyond the traditional accounting perspective to meet the needs of key internal and external stakeholders.

This pathway will help you to develop an understanding of the evolving finance function of the future and the role of the CFO in driving business improvement and success. You will look both outwards to the needs of stakeholders, and inwards to the effective performance management of the organisation. As you go, you will learn from our panel of experienced CFOs, who share the secrets of their success in extended video interviews.

  • Explores core areas in the future skillset of the CFO as identified by ACCA and CIMA in "The CFO of the Future"
  • Discusses the key skills and capabilities identified in the CA ANZ "CFO Recruitment Guide"
  • Addresses the four drivers of the CFO role as identified by ICAEW
  • Offers a progression onwards from our Finance Leader pathway, covering similar topics at a higher level, with a wider business viewpoint
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In this pathway


Supporting your journey to the next stage of your career


The tools, techniques, and skills you need to provide strategic finance leadership and drive business performance


Learn where you want, when you want

Certificate of Achievement

21 verifiable hours of CPD, an assessment and a Certificate of Achievement

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Learning resources

Immerse yourself in the rich variety of articles, videos, activities, quizzes, discussions, and more, to develop your understanding and skills.

Expert interviews

Video interviews with experienced CFOs, enabling you to learn first-hand the secrets of their success.

Expert interviews screenshot
Action plan screenshot

Action plan

Build up a practical plan of how you will put your new skills into action, and download a convenient summary of all the learning to take away.


Achieving 75% on the multiple choice assessment is required to complete the career progression pathway. The assessment features two questions on each topic that has been covered.

Secure certification screenshot
Secure certification screenshot

Secure certification

Once you've finished the programme, you will receive a unique and secure Certificate of Achievement as evidence of your new understanding and capabilities.

This Career Progression Pathway is divided into six sections corresponding to the key skills and expertise you will need to develop as a CFO. Complete all six to unlock the end of pathway assessment and access your Certificate of Achievement.

We start by looking inwards at the CFO’s role leading the finance function. You should anticipate change and drive improvement, shaping the team’s role as an integral part of the organisation.

  1. The future of finance
  2. Alignment and objectives

Here the focus is on you as an individual in your role as a leader. This section will support you in developing your leadership style and your authoritative voice, as an ethical professional adviser.

  1. What stakeholders want
  2. Your leadership
  3. The voice of authority
  4. Professionalism under pressure

In this section we begin to turn our view outwards, towards the role of the CFO in the wider business. We cover some key aspects in maintaining and driving business development.

  1. Staying ahead
  2. Managing risk
  3. Corporate decision making
  4. Scenario analysis

The CPO is at the heart of driving business performance to achieve objectives and maximise profits. This section considers how, as CFO, you can play a central role in organisational strategy.

  1. Driving the strategic process
  2. Finding the key profit drivers
  3. World class performance management
  4. Building corporate resilience

In this section we return to one of the CFO’s core responsibilities. The topics here will help to future proof your reporting and stay on top of changes and trends in standards, approaches and expectations.

  1. Financial reporting trends
  2. Trends in audit standards
  3. Reporting on other matters
  4. Annual reports that tell your story

Most businesses are facing both opportunities and threats from increased digitisation. As CFO you should be proactive in managing the risks and rewards involved in adopting new technologies.

  1. Digital transformation strategy
  2. Digital innovation

Once you have completed all the elements of the pathway, you can take the assessment to access your Certificate of Achievement.

Meet the CFOs

Kate Bowyer

Kate Bowyer

CFO at Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and previously Managing Director of Muse Developments and CFO and Crown Commissioner at The Crown Estate.

Simon Dighton

Simon Dighton

CFO of a wide range of business including PLCs and Private Equity backed high growth companies, specialising in disposals and acquisitions.

Russ Holden

Russ Holden

Divisional CFO of two Divisions in ICI and then two Divisions of BT, Group CFO of Lovells (5 years), Telecom NZ (3 years) and United Utilities (10 years). Now Audit Committee Chair of Orange Polska (since 2014), Operating Partner of Corsair Infrastructure and NED of Yorkshire Water (since January 2022).

Chris Woolley

Chris Woolley

Partner and investor in Cow Corner Investments, and previously Partner at Deloitte and lead on Deloitte’s private equity transaction team.

Contributing faculty

Wayne Bartlett

Wayne Bartlett

Dr Wayne Bartlett specialises in financial management and budgeting and the development of international accounting standards. He has worked as an adviser and lecturer throughout the world. Vastly experienced in the NHS and central government as well as the private sector in the UK, he has worked in over 40 countries advising both governments and businesses. Wayne specialises in particular on the development of international accounting.

Samuel Ellis

Samuel Ellis

Samuel Ellis is a chartered accountant with experience working in private accounting firms and a number of high growth businesses. He has spent the past six years working as Head of Finance for InterWorks, a global specialist data consulting practice. Sam was the founding Chair of the ACCA's Global Technology Forum and currently Chair of ACCA's Member Advisory Committee and a member of the ACCA's International Assembly.

Anna Faherty

Anna Faherty

Anna Faherty is a writer, editor, researcher and educator who has written extensively for accountingcpd on topics as diverse as ethics and strategy. She is an expert in the communication of complex ideas. Anna has delivered numerous workshops and webinars for ACCA and the AIA and has lectured at City University, Kingston University, Oxford Brookes University and University College London.

Yusuf Justin Holcroft

Yusuf Justin Holcroftt

Yusuf Justin Holcroft is a Director of CTS Consulting and Training Specialists, a company specialised in business rescue, turnaround and expansion. He became Trade Development Manager at Coca-Cola Amatil Austria in 1996, and subsequently worked with the Iams Company and Procter & Gamble fulfilling country manager roles for Austria, Switzerland and South Africa. He is the author in this pathway of the module entitled Data-Based Strategy.

Ross Maynard

Ross Maynard

Ross Maynard is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He has worked as a consultant and trainer for over 20 years, specialising in process improvement and lean for finance teams. He has presented at lean conferences in the UK, Australia, Italy and Denmark and has written many articles and blogs on process improvement.

Alan Nelson

Alan Nelson

Alan began his career in accountancy before moving into senior management positions in the book trade. After a successful stint as CEO of Thomson Learning, a major international textbook publisher, he founded Nelson Croom, the publisher of which he has run ever since. He has been at the forefront of the developing elearning industry and his company has twice won the prestigious award for eLearning Development Company of the Year. He retains a keen interest in economics and in management skills training. He is currently Chair of ICAEW’s Practice Assurance Committee and a member of IFA’s Regulatory Committee.

Ben Rawal

Ben Rawal

Ben is a Director and Lead Consultant with Soft Skills, a business providing leadership development, team dynamics improvement, and emotional intelligence services for accounting and finance professionals. He is a chartered accountant (FCCA) and has an MBA from Warwick Business School.

John Taylor

John Taylor

John is a Chartered Accountant who spent many years advising small and medium-sized businesses across the North of England. John went on to work at Bradford College and Leeds Met University where he specialised in teaching auditing on ACCA professional courses and Forensic Accounting at Masters level. John is the author of modules in this pathway on Business Acumen and Corporate Principles.

Lisa Weaver

Lisa Weaver

Lisa Weaver is a professionally qualified (ICAEW) lecturer with 20 years' experience of exam-based, and CPD lecturing for accounting and finance professionals. Lisa qualified with Deloitte and since leaving audit practice, she has lectured financial reporting, audit and governance subjects, developing and delivering CPD courses for qualified accountants working in industry and in practice. Lisa has delivered courses across Europe, the Caribbean, China and South East Asia. Lisa is now a Professor in Accounting at Warwick Business School, delivering on a range of programmes including MBA. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.