A Guide To C-Suite Roles (With Duties And Careers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

C-suite or C-level is an organisation's top management team. Professionals in these positions often manage the daily operations of an organisation and work with other senior executives to meet its short-term and long-term goals. Learning more about the roles and responsibilities of C-level positions can help you decide if you want to pursue your career as a C-level executive. In this article, we discuss what the C-suite is, highlight the duties that these positions entail and share some C-level executive roles that you can consider when applying for a job.

What Is The C-Suite?

The C-suite is a term that describes a group of high-ranking officials in an organisation. C-level executives set a company's strategic direction, make high-level decisions and ensure that day-to-day operations align with a company's short-term and long-term goals. They are also responsible for running the company's daily operations, from establishing the overall business strategy to overseeing individual departments or business units. These professionals devise policies, procedures and guidelines for the effective functioning of an organisation. Due to the nature of their job, which involves making critical decisions, they usually receive higher compensation depending on a company's revenue.

Related: What Are Top Management Responsibilities? (With Positions)

Duties Of C-Level Employees

Here are some essential duties of C-level employees in an organisation:

  • Engage in strategic thinking and contribute to the fulfilment of organisational goals

  • Formulate strategies to support an organisation's vision and goals in their functional areas

  • Establish policies and procedures that comply with industry standards and regulations

  • Define a purpose that unifies employees and helps them understand an organisation's short- and long-term goals

  • Persuade, influence and inspire C-suite colleagues, direct reports and employees to work towards a common goal

  • Ensure the smooth functioning of various departments during organisational changes

  • Ensure that they are knowledgeable about key functional areas

  • Delegate management responsibilities effectively

  • Ensure quality performance by measuring key metrics and tracking them periodically

  • Establish a healthy work environment where employees feel appreciated and rewarded for their efforts

  • Engage in group activities and one-on-one conversations to promote a transparent and healthy workplace

Related: What It Means To Implement A Strategy (With Steps And Tips)

10 Career Opportunities For C-Level Employees

Here is a list of relevant C-level careers:

1. Chief accounting officer (CAO)

The chief accounting officer manages all accounting operations, including financial statements, cost control systems and ledger accounts. Their primary responsibilities include monitoring compliance, reviewing and investigating errors, correcting inconsistencies and conducting accounting research. They also prepare financial statements for auditing purposes and coordinate the closing of accounts every month. These professionals are also responsible for a company's long-term financial planning and implementation.

Related: 10 Chief Revenue Officer Responsibilities For Your Resume

2. Chief information officer (CIO)

Chief information officers implement, manage and ensure a company's IT operations align with its business objectives. They oversee the functioning of legacy IT systems and the introduction of newer technologies that can add business value and provide the company with a competitive advantage in the market. Along with their leadership and business management skills, these professionals may also possess technical abilities, such as knowledge of programming, system design, IT infrastructure and project management. These professionals oversee the development of IT policies and procedures to comply with regulations and industry standards.

Related: What Is The Difference Between A CTO Vs CIO? (With FAQ)

3. Chief security officer (CSO)

Chief security officers are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of a company's physical and digital information, personnel and assets. They oversee the creation of robust safety protocols to prevent data breaches, data corruption, phishing attacks and malware. These professionals identify, develop, implement and maintain policies and procedures that comply with laws and legislation. They are also responsible for establishing a budget for security programmes in coordination with management.

Related: Governance, Risk And Compliance Tools (With Benefits)

4. Chief legal officer (CLO)

Chief legal officers are the primary legal advisors for an organisation and oversee its legal affairs. They provide legal advice to the executive team, handle legal matters within an organisation, conduct legal research and review litigation strategies. They are responsible for handling all statutory filings, communicating with outside counsel and managing an organisation's intellectual property. It is also their duty to monitor company misconduct, supervise internal and external legal resources and advise the board of directors on compliance issues.

Related: Chief Commercial Officer: Definition And Responsibilities

5. Chief executive officer (CEO)

The CEO is the highest-ranking member of the executive team. The primary responsibilities of a CEO include managing the overall operations and resources of an organisation and making major corporate decisions. Their duties also include setting an organisation's long-term strategy, allocating capital and developing and overseeing its executive team. These professionals also develop short-term and long-term plans for the organisation in collaboration with its executive board.

CEOs establish partnerships and alliances with other organisations and maintain close communication with the human resources (HR) department to streamline the hiring process. They also communicate with all partners, regulators, lawmakers and the media to discuss the company's operations, profit and vision.

Related: What Is A CEO? Definition And Career Advice

6. Chief operating officer (COO)

Chief operating officers handle an organisation's daily operations and HR-related activities. The primary responsibilities of a COO are to design and implement business strategies and establish policies that align with an organisation's values and mission. They handle employee recruitment, training, payroll management, compliance and administration. These professionals are also involved in activities related to expansion, merging, acquisition and alliances. COOs are also responsible for devising policies that promote a company's culture and vision and setting goals to achieve them.

Related: Learn How To Become A Chief Operating Officer (COO)

7. Chief technology officer (CTO)

As the highest technology executive position in an organisation, chief technology officers make all key decisions regarding the technological interests of the company. Their primary responsibility is to ensure the availability of technical resources to meet an organisation's short-term and long-term goals. They are also responsible for discovering and implementing innovative technologies, monitoring key performance indicators, tracking IT budgets and building quality assurance and data protection processes. It is also their duty to communicate the technology strategy to partners and investors.

CTOs may also be responsible for introducing business process automation across various business units to reduce operational costs, minimise time and manual effort and increase productivity.

Related: What Is A CTO? (Job Duties, Salary And Requirements)

8. Chief financial officer (CFO)

Chief financial officers oversee an organisation's finances, including the planning, implementation and monitoring of all finance-related activities of an organisation. Their role is to assist the organisation in evaluating the financial benefits and risks associated with potential opportunities. They oversee the activities of all financiers and accountants in a company. These professionals advise on long-term business goals and financial planning. Their duty also includes maintaining compliance with laws and regulations by filing legal and regulatory documents.

Related: What Is A CFO? (With Skills, Salary And How To Become One)

9. Chief compliance officer (CCO)

Chief compliance officers manage a company's regulatory compliance issues. Their primary responsibility includes implementing policies and procedures to ensure the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations. They are also responsible for managing audits, taking part in internal investigations and responding to regulatory enquiries. It is also their duty to ensure that all employees know the latest regulations and processes.

10. Chief marketing officer (CMO)

Chief marketing officers are responsible for all marketing activities within an organisation. Their primary duties include monitoring and directing market trends, planning and organising marketing activities and establishing marketing plans. They set marketing goals for an organisation and oversee advertising, branding and public relations. These professionals also propose improvements to a company's marketing strategy that aligns with its short-and-long-term objectives. CMOs are responsible for stimulating the creative side of a business by encouraging more interesting and unique marketing ideas, resulting in better innovative marketing strategies that increase sales and attract new customers.

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