Skip navigation
money telescope Jorgenmac/iStock/Thinkstock

What Is a Personal CFO?

It may just be the essential part that is missing in your client's moneymaking machine.

Every sophisticated enterprise, from a mid-size company to an international corporation, from a major record label to the “loan out” company of a rock star or professional athlete, needs a chief financial officer (CFO). This top-level executive supervises and coordinates the efforts of the accounting team, attorneys and everyone else involved in the organization’s finances.

Company CFO responsibilities are usually limited to the operations and goals of each specific entity. So, who looks at the details and big picture, on the personal side, of all these businessmen and businesswomen? Great question! The answer is most successful business owners rely on their ace in the hole, an elite advisor with a panoramic financial perspective: The Personal CFO.

What Is a Personal CFO?

As a seasoned expert on personal and business finance with encyclopedic knowledge of the U.S. tax code, a top-notch personal CFO sees the same big picture as the business owner. The personal CFO is the captain of the boss’s financial ship—the one voice heard above all the rest—ensuring every maneuver cuts the water seamlessly to facilitate smooth sailing toward the CEO’s dreams.

What to Look for in a Top-Gun Personal CFO

Those of us who serve as personal CFOs understand what it means to devote our lasting, undivided attention to a client’s unique needs. We balance standard practices with opportunistic boldness. We answer to the client, not to the senior partners of some giant firm, and we never outsource the work.

Like the coxswain who oversees his or her rowing crew, a personal CFO will be guarding a client's individual financial interests and should possess these essential qualities:

Cutting-Edge Knowledge of Every Tax Law

The best CFOs constantly comb through changing tax laws to identify hidden opportunities to save you tax dollars. Look at any prospective personal CFO’s contacts list. Many of the lawyers I work with are senior tax and corporate law partners at the finest white-shoe law firms and have previously served on congressional tax committees and/or worked at the highest levels of the IRS. I consult with them regularly on client matters. Keeping this inside track well greased enables me to proactively respond to tax code changes before most CPAs even hear about them. I use intelligently aggressive tax strategies that keep clients on solid ground with the IRS, freeing up funds for smart investment.

The Ability to Shift Perspectives and See the Numbers From Every Angle

Far too many accountants and advisors get locked into popular points of view, resulting in unimaginative analysis and cookie-cutter advice. Visionaries understand what looks like a problem from one perspective might hold the key to a financial miracle when viewed from another vantage point. Leave nothing to chance and meticulously evaluate every detail, using judgment and intuition to get the best results to build your wealth.

Constant Communication and Concierge Availability, 24/7/365

The best personal CFOs do not engage in the disappearing acts so common among overcommitted consultants. They do not give you a schmoozy soft sell at an initial meeting only to leave you desperately awaiting responses to your phone calls and emails when the going gets tough. They are there whenever you need them, and provide regular updates covering work in progress along with creative ideas on all sorts of new opportunities to both make money and save money. From boom times to pandemic lockdowns, they should always be just a phone call, text or email away.

This article is not tax, legal, or other professional advice and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without consultation and advice from a retained professional. 

Harvey Bezozi is a CPA and CFP ®. More information can be found at


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.