When it comes to the big business of today’s best and brightest companies, the buck stops with the Chief Financial Officer. It’s the paramount position of power when it comes to accounting. The CFO is responsible for developing and maintaining the financial security of their company. This not only includes directing the entire accounting department but also overseeing budgets, streamlining processes, financial reporting, plan development for future growth and so much more. 

In this activity, students will break off into small groups based on their interest in one of the nine major industries. (Have them create their own FutureMe™ if they need help narrowing down the options.) Each group will then choose a company within that industry they like and want to learn more about. Next, they’ll conduct online research to gather as much information as they can about that company’s CFO. But it’s not just run-of-the-mill information they should look for—encourage students to think beyond the expected and dig deeper to uncover the most interesting stuff they can find.

Here are just a few idea starters to guide their research, or at least get the wheels turning:

  • What prompted them to select that specific company/CFO?
  • How did their CFO get to their current position?
  • What motivates their CFO or influences their financial and/or leadership strategy?
  • What does their CFO like to do in his/her free time?
  • Why did they choose the position they currently hold?
  • What is the CFO’s favorite part of his/her job?
  • Does this CFO hold any special designations? (CPA, CGMA, etc.)
  • How do those designations help with their job?
  • How would your students evaluate their CFO’s performance and “grade them” on what  the company has accomplished on their watch?
  • Students can get more inspiration by checking out profiles of Real-Life CPAs.

We recommend two class periods for this exercise, so students can devote one class period to research and the next for their presentations. However, feel free to scale this exercise up or down depending on how much time you have. Each team’s CFO presentation should be 2-5 minutes.

Add a competitive component to this exercise by having the class vote for the team with the most interesting, unique and engaging presentation. You can request free swag (in advance) to give to the winners at

Don’t forget to brag on your students by sharing a picture of the winning team with their hard-earned swag using #SHGPCFOOMG. Be sure to add a caption saying which company and CFO came out on top. And if you happen to record those presentations, we’d love to see them—just email us a link to the videos (using the same address you used to request swag). 

Online activity, Group activity