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What is a hospital CFO?

A hospital chief financial officer (CFO) is a high-level C-Suite executive charged with leading, managing, and streamlining a hospital’s financial operations.

This top-tier healthcare administrative position operates as its own entity, yet collaborates with other hospital department heads for consultations, recommendations, and executive meetings to determine the best fiscal practices on behalf of the hospital.

Hospital CFO Responsibilities & Duties

The CFO reports directly to the CEO of Hospital Operations and serves as the primary financial officer of the finance and accounting division.

The wide range of responsibilities for a hospital CFO include collection, analysis, and preparation of financial documents and reports; establishment and maintenance of various strategic monetary plans; financial planning of capital budgets, monthly and annual budgets; and utilizing effective and standard management techniques in accordance with healthcare industry policies.

Hospital CFOs also actively educate and advise management leaders on monetary updates that may positively or negatively impact the hospital. Other responsibilities and duties of a hospital CFO include:

  • Development and administering economic systems, policies, and procedures
  • Creation of hospital budgeting system for both operating and capital budgets
  • Processing and disbursement of payroll and accounts payable
  • Tax planning and tax returns
  • Establishment of patient financial services

Hospital CFOs engage in analyzing new budgetary and accounting programs and software, along with approving or disapproving reimbursement strategies, reports, and appeals.

Development strategies of improving cash flow and determining areas of monetary waste that lead to downsizing or elimination of programs and personnel are a part of this position’s duties.

CFOs negotiate agreements and contracts with third party vendors, while overseeing major investment plans for expansion of the hospital or acquisition of other companies.

Hospital chief financial officers play a key role in financial administrative care by leading and facilitating strategies for cost reduction and organizational planning for payable and refund methodologies.

Hospital CFOs decipher value and risk projects to determine the overall outlook of a novel administrative endeavor, forecast hospital income profits and loss, along with interpreting modern economic trends and responding with profitable ideas.

They may also take part in hiring, training, and developing management staff to ensure the qualification and quality of new personnel. Finally, the hospital CFO adheres and delivers all financial records to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and abides by their protocols and regulations.

Hospital CFO Work & Environment Conditions

The work environment for a healthcare chief financial officer is a spacious office within the hospital that houses various important financial records and files, both physical and digital. Considering the hospital dynamics, the area may be cold and subjected to temperature regulations.

Within the hospital, CFOs correlate with other department heads and subordinates and ensure quality control of those working within the accounting and finance department. This position may experience noise and chatter due to working in a fast-paced location that never ceases operations.

Hospital CFOs work between 8 and 16 hours per day and may engage in leading different activities like budget and accounting meetings, guiding management staff through new fiscal protocols, or establishing working relationships with external company executives.

A healthcare chief financial officer will experience bouts of stress simply due to the nature and work environment of the position.

Higher stress levels are typically caused by four triggers:

  • Pressure of meeting hospital financial benchmarks
  • Increasing workload
  • Sporadic deadline expectations
  • Lack of skilled staff

Yet, hospital CFOs counteract this stress with the administrative benefits of being in a high-level position and being able to create their own schedule based on their obligations and other C-Suite duties.

Hospital CFO Degree & Education Requirements

At minimum, to become the chief financial officer for a hospital, one must earn a bachelor’s degree in one of the following programs:

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Economics

Other degree programs related to becoming a healthcare CFO are in the form of a master’s degree at the graduate level. Master’s degrees that will satisfy the position of a hospital CFO look like:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Business Accounting
  • Master of Arts Economics
  • Juris Doctor
  • Healthcare Administration

A bachelor’s degree is required to enter the CFO position while a postsecondary degree enhances one’s chance of being chosen over those with a singular degree. Certifications in healthcare or accounting are considered auxiliary credentials for employment.

These certificates are in the form of:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Bookkeeping
  • Controller

Work experience is a strong factor for becoming an in-demand CFO. Healthcare chief financial officers have between five and nine years of employment history in either the healthcare, finance, economic, or business domains.

Those in this position are aware and capable of undertaking healthcare and billing practices. They also have the ability to operate in healthcare delivery system administrations and have a diverse portfolio of leadership in hospital and large medical group finance fields.

Hospital chief financial officers require the highest level of problem solving based on the array of adjustments that may occur due to system failure or lack of available personnel and be able to provide innovative solutions.

Other notable qualities for a hospital CFO are:

  • Positive people skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Practical learning skills
  • Punctual
  • Clear emotional intelligence

Hospital CFO Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a healthcare chief financial officer is $154,400, at a medium rate of $74 an hour, $2,965 per week, and approximately $12,900 per month.

The 25th percentile of healthcare CFOs earn an annual salary of $102,000, while the 75th percentile accumulates approximately $206,000. Top hospital CFOs with seven or more years in high-level healthcare or finance positions earn an average of $235,000.

Hospital CFO Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) postulated a 4% increase in this position until 2029 based on the need for reliable CFOs. With digital software becoming abundant in the healthcare field, healthcare CFOs must become knowledgeable in financial and administrative SaaS programs for automation, cost reduction, and streamlining of hospital finances and resources.

Alternate Jobs

Jobs related to hospital chief financial officer are:

  • Finance controller
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Financial Planning & Analysis