101 Careers in Healthcare ManagementIn this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

The CFO is responsible for all the functions related to the financial operations of a hospital. These responsibilities include the accounting, insurance, financial systems, and auditing of all medical departments. CFOs gather and analyze all the financial data and information to make sure the hospital is operating within budget and to determine how to allocate funds to various areas. These officers create detailed reports of their findings and must explain to department heads and boards of directors why these financial decisions are being made. The CFO is typically a member of the senior leadership team of the hospital.

Additionally, the CFO:

  • Is responsible for the operating and capital budgets, including revenue and expense budgets, cash forecasts, profit planning, and programs for capital investments and financing
  • Facilitates communication among staff, management, vendors, and other financial resources within the organization
  • Manages the cost-reporting process and understands financial impacts
  • Provides assistance to the organization’s CEO, and leadership and guidance to designated departments to ensure the financial stability of the organization and that the delivery of patient/resident and healthcare service programs continues to respond to the needs of both patients and the community at-large
  • Provides guidance to capital equipment purchases

CFOs of most acute care hospitals require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. A master’s degree in health/hospital administration, business administration, or related field is highly desirable. Hospital CFOs typically possess a minimum of 5 years of experience with increasing responsibilities for financial reporting, financial planning, and personnel management.


  • Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to effectively communicate with persons throughout the organization, including clinicians and governing board members
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of the principles and skills needed to provide fiscal control for a diverse set of healthcare services
  • Knowledge of systems design and development processes, including requirements analysis, feasibility studies, software design, programming, pilot testing, installation, evaluation, and operational management
  • Oversee the management and coordination of all fiscal reporting activities for the hospital
  • Proven ability to link and apply complex financial instruments to business strategies
  • Experience in negotiating contracts with vendors, contractors, and others
  • Ability to analyze and resolve complex issues, both logical and interpersonal

Most hospital-based CFOs earn salaries in the range of $150,000 to $330,000 per year. However, this figure varies depending on a number of variables including the size of the hospital and the region of the country in which the hospital is located. CFOs of smaller hospitals in more rural areas tend to earn less than their counterparts at large, urban hospitals.

The overall outlook for hospital CFO jobs is expected to be stable or be slightly reduced over the coming years. The reason for this projection is that the overall number of hospitals is decreasing slightly and a growing number of hospitals are deciding to become part of ever-growing number of multi-hospital chains.