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The Role of a CFO

COO: The Role Explained

CEO: What do they do?

CEO: What do they do?
What is a Chief Executive Officer?

A Chief Executive Officer–better known as a CEO–is an individual who holds the highest-ranking position in an organization. The CEO (or Managing Director in the United Kingdom) is the most prominent position in a corporate office; the CEO is in charge of total management of the business model. In the majority of business organizations, such as a public corporation, where the company shares its profits with shareholders, the CEO will report to the board of directors.

The board of directors acts as the looming authority and regulator for a CEO; this committee establishes the specific responsibilities which the CEO must fulfill. Although the board of directors, is in essence, the overseer of a particular company, the CEO in most instances, will be required to handle the day-to-day operations of the particular business. 

What are the basic responsibilities of a CEO?

As stated above, the responsibilities of a corporation’s CEO are typically set by the organization’s Board of Directors or other authority, depending on the business’ legal structure. In general, the responsibilities of a CEO may be far reaching or somewhat limited based on the culture, hierarchy and nature of the organization.

In a typical sense, a CEO has the responsibility of a chief communicator, decision maker, leader and manager of the company or organization’s day-to-day business operations. As a communicator, the CEO will be required to inform the press and general public of the basic company dealings, including their earnings reports, mergers and acquisitions, large business deals, company layoffs etc. Furthermore, the communication role of the CEO requires the individual to actively inform the organization’s management and employees of the aforementioned dealings, as well as additional company-specific dealings.

As a leader of an organization, the CEO is required to advise the board of directors of the company’s outlook and initiatives. Furthermore, the CEO is required to perpetually motivate his or her employees to drive change within the organization. As a manager, the CEO will preside over the organization’s day-to-day, month-to-month, as well as year-to-year operations.

CEO in the United States:

In the United States, and in business, all executive officers of an organization are regarded as the top officers of the business; the CEO is the best-known and most powerful of these officers. The definition of a CEO in the United States may vary based on jurisdiction; for example, the California Corporate Disclosure Act defines all executive officers as the five most highly-compensated individuals who do not maintain a position on the board of directors.

It must also be understood that the role of a CEO will differentiate based on the structure of the business. For instance, in the case of a sole proprietorship, a CEO will function as the Sole Proprietor, while in the case of a partnership; the CEO will act as a managing partner, a senior partner or an administrative partner. And lastly, in the case of a limited liability company, a CEO will act as any member, officer or manager of the business.

What does a Chairman do?

What does a Chairman do?

What is a Chairman?

A chairman is the highest officer of an organized group aligned with a business model—such as a board of directors, a committee or a deliberative assembly. The Chairman is typically elected or appointed by the members of the group in which he or she presides over. The individual holding the post is required to oversee the meetings of the assembled group to streamline and conduct the underlying organization’s business operatives.

In essence, the Chairman is the chief organizer and authority of the board; in turn, the board is responsible for voting on paramount policy issues (such as mergers, bankruptcy filings, IPOs or the issuance of stock) and advising the executive officers of the organization. When the board is not in session, the Chairman’s duties will often include acting as its leader for public purposes. This function will require the Chairman to act as a bridge; ultimately linking information concerning the organization to the outside world—in essence, the chairman will act as the board’s spokesperson.

A Chairman’s exact role and responsibilities will vary based on the corporation or organization in which the individual works. In addition to the fluctuation of roles, the terminology will vary between organizations. Other terms used to signify a Chairman and its respective holder would be a president, a presiding officer, a chair, convener or moderator. Furthermore, the post of ‘Chairman’ is not constrained to a business organization, for government bodies or agencies also possess the post. For example, the chairman of a parliamentary will be referred to as the speaker. Moreover, in many settings, a vice-chairman, or subordinate to the chairman, will be chosen to assist the chairman with daily tasks. 

The role of the Chairman in a Public Corporation:

In regards to public corporations, there are typically two types of chairmen: executive and non-executive holders. The executive chairman will serve as not only the chair of the boar, but also as an executive of the company (typically as the Chief Executive Officer or CEO). In contrast, the non-executive chairman will hold no executive position with the company and will typically be an outsider with no other current or previous ties to the business model.

The non-executive chair will act as in a consulting or advisory role and will not have any personal or financial stake in the company’s earnings or growth. The non-executive Chairman’s responsibilities are typically limited to matters directly related to the board, such as:

• Organize and hold meetings of the board

• Organize and coordinate the board’s general activities by setting the annual agenda

• Review and evaluate the performance of the Executive Officers (most notably the CEO) and other members of the board

• A number of companies in the United States have an executive chairman; this method of organization, as a result of its prevalence in the nation, is regarded as the American model. The presence of a non-executive chairman is more common in Canada and the United Kingdom—hence its name, the British model.

Board of Directors Explained

Board of Directors Explained

What is a Board of Directors?

A board of directors is a body of appointed or elected members who jointly oversee and regulate the activities of a company or organization. The term ‘board of directors’ is somewhat broad; a number of organizations, such as municipal departments or government agencies will utilize a board of directors, but will refer to the board by a different name–such as a board of governors, board of regents, board of trustees, an executive board or a board of managers.

A board of director’s activities is predominantly determined by the powers, responsibilities and duties delegated to it by an authority outside of itself—such matters are typically detailed in the underlying organization’s bylaws. The bylaws, in addition to establishing the board of director’s powers, will also specify the number of members to operate on the board, how these individuals will be chosen (appointed or elected) and the number of times they are to meet in a fiscal year. 

Board of Directors in a Public vs. Private Corporation:

For an organization with voting members (for example, a public corporation or professional) the board of directors will act on behalf of and is subordinate to, the organization’s full assembly, which will typically choose the members of the board. In a public corporation (one that issues stock to public shareholders) the board of directors is elected by the stockholders; the board of directors is the highest authority in regards to the management of a public corporation. In a non-stock or private corporation, voting membership is typically not allowed. That being said, non-stock organizations, such as a university, will utilize a board to act as the supreme governing body of the institution. In these scenarios, the individuals on the board of directors may be chosen by the board itself.

What are the Typical Duties of a Board of Directors?

Typical duties of a board of directors will include the following:

• Govern the underlying organization through the establishment of broad objectives and policies

• Select, appoint, support and review the performance of the CEO

• Ensure the availability of adequate financial resources

• Set individual salaries and compensation for members on the board

• Provide accounting resources to the stakeholders for the organization’s performance

In addition to these basic responsibilities, the board of directors will assume a number of legal responsibilities—these duties will fluctuate based on the nature of the organization and where the organization is located. For a public corporation, these responsibilities, when compared to a government agency, municipality or educational instituation, are typically more complex and rigorous in nature


Document Management System

Document Management System

A document management system stores and organizes electronic documents and records for easy access and security.  There are a number of benefits to using document management systems, not the least of which is convenience over dealing with a large volume of physical records.  Content management software exists to facilitate the ease of access and security of these records for organizations with a number of records that could benefit from automation.

How do content management systems generally work?

There must be tags or other keywords to help make the documents searchable and findable when in storage.  Most modern content management software will extract keywords automatically, although the individual using the content management software can also enter these keywords for convenience.  In this way, the records can be categorized which is useful not just for data retrieval, but for some systems, data analysis.  Records management systems will need higher levels of security and most of these systems will not only offer password protection, but also data encryption of the documents to prevent unauthorized access and the leak of personal or sensitive data.

Where are content management systems generally used?

Most government agencies will use document management services for records as these organizations frequently handle sensitive data as well as a large volume of records.  The nature of this data, which will include personal information at times naturally, lends itself to a content management system.  Federal law also mandates medical institutions that handle patient records must use a records management system to protect personal data.  Libraries too will use content management systems for their catalogues.  These content management systems will have more developed keyword and search options.  The focus of these content management systems will be to make the data more accessible rather than more secure.

What are different types of content management systems?

A component content management system simplifies data by eliminating potential redundancies in the records.  The data is standardized and available for multiple use my users of the content management system.

An enterprise content management system is used to store documents or essential content for organizations.  This system can be used for contract management and other functions to help users of these systems have easy access to these documents.  This leads to greater efficiency when documents need to be found.  An example of when an enterprise content management will be useful is for real estate companies that handle a number of contracts.  This contract management system will be able to find these contracts quickly for references.  This is significantly more efficient than searching through physical records for the contract in question.