Venture Capital Chief Financial Officers
Exploring this Job
There are many blogs that provide useful information about the venture capital industry and the work of chief financial officers, including the following:
- CFO Journal: https://www.wsj.com/news/cfo-journal
- Samuel’s CFO Blog: https://dergelcfo.com/blog
- Venture CFO: http://theventurecfo.com
Read the bios of VC-fund chief financial officers to learn about their job duties and the educational and professional steps they took to become CFOs. Visit the National Venture Capital Association’s Web site, https://nvca.org/about-nvca/members, for a list of members.
Other ways to explore this career include joining finance and venture capital clubs in college, asking your professors for advice about pursuing a career in venture capital, and using LinkedIn to locate VC finance professionals who might be interested in participating in information interviews about their careers.
The financial management team at a large venture capital firm typically consists of a chief financial officer, a financial controller (or director of finance), an accounting manager (or chief accountant), and one or more accountants and auditors. Chief financial officers are typically employed by medium and large venture capital firms. At a start-up VC firm, hiring a CFO may not be practical, and the firm’s founder may be responsible for financial duties or he or she may hire lower-level accounting professionals (such as accountants or controllers) to handle these duties. Major responsibilities of CFOs include:
- handling various financial management tasks, such as tracking cash flow, capital expenditure planning, reconciling bank accounts, and allocating income to limited and general partners in accordance with terms of partnership agreements
- analyzing financial data and providing strategic advice to partners
- preparing quarterly financial reports for investors. These reports contain balance sheets (that list the portfolio companies and their fair market value, as well as cash on hand), profit and loss statements, cash-flow statements, and a schedule of investments.
- working closely with the CFOs of the firm’s portfolio companies, or serving as the temporary or permanent CFO of a portfolio company
- overseeing the firm’s annual financial budgeting, forecasting, and review process
- developing and implementing financial control processes (in order to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness, reliable financial reporting, and compliance with laws and regulations
- conducting financial due diligence on potential VC investments and prospective limited partners
- serving as the liaison to internal auditing firms during the auditing process
- overseeing employee benefits programs (including health insurance and retirement fund plans)
- working with risk managers to assess and address areas of financial risk
- assuming responsibility for a variety of other areas at the firm, including information technology, digital security, human resources, and business development functions