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Chief Operating Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Chief Operating Officer, or COO, is a senior executive who oversees a company’s daily business operations and administration. The duties of a COO include compiling the company financial reports, implementing business strategies and optimising the organisation’s operational capabilities.

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Chief Operating Officer duties and responsibilities

The COO of a company is a senior-level executive who provides management, leadership and vision to ensure the organisation meets its short-term and long-term objectives. They help create enduring policies and a company culture that strengthens operational efficiency and generates revenue. Their main duties and responsibilities can include:

  • Overseeing the daily business and administrative operations and improving operating procedures for optimal efficiency
  • Assessing and enhancing the efficiency of internal and external operational processes
  • Leading and motivating staff to achieve sales and organisational objectives
  • Overseeing the recruitment process to attract the best candidates and reduce employee turnover
  • Mentoring and inspiring employees to key into the vision of management
  • Establishing policies that improve and promote company vision and culture
  • Evaluating company performance and recommend strategies to improve results
  • Collaborating with management and other stakeholders to raise capital and carry out other business-expanding strategies
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What does a Chief Operating Officer do?

The primary function of a Chief Operating Officer is to manage the ongoing operations and processes of a business. COOs control various business operations and implement the company’s strategic initiatives. They oversee the creation of budgets and financial reports, create strategic goals and direct employees toward achieving the company’s vision and mission. The Chief Operating Officer handles most of the internal affairs of the company and usually has extensive experience with designing operating strategies and building teams to achieve these goals. They also create reports to inform the Chief Executive Officer and other stakeholders of the company’s performance.

Chief Operating Officer skills and qualifications

A successful Chief Operating Officer candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications, these typically include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or industry-relevant equivalent
  • Proven experience in a senior executive role
  • In-depth understanding of the industry and the workings of different departments of a company, including finance, sales and human resources
  • Excellent leadership and organisational skills
  • Knowledge of accounting, financial analysis and data analysis
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • Strategic planning and business development
  • Experience in budgeting and sales

Chief Operating Officer experience requirements

Chief Operating Officers typically have a minimum of 15 years’ work experience in their chosen field. The role requires extensive experience across diverse departments in the field in which the COO’s employer operates. In many organisations the COO must have at least five years of proven work experience in a senior management position. This experience shows that the COO has valuable insight into the policies, practices and cultures of the industry and places them in a strong position to help move their company forward towards its goals.

Chief Operating Officer education and training requirements

The minimum academic requirement for Chief Operating Officers is a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or other relevant disciplines. Candidates who completed an advanced apprenticeship relevant to an industry can also work their way up to the position of a Chief Operating Officer, although they may require professional certifications. Some employers may require candidates to have a Master of Business Administration (MBA). In specialised industries, such as engineering and medicine, the COO is usually a professional Engineer or Physician who rose through the corporate ladder. Some organisations require their Chief Operating Officers to have professional certifications, such as Project Management Professional (PMP) or Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA).

Chief Operating Officer salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for Chief Operating Officer candidates is £80,838 per year. The actual pay may depend on the employer, the job duties and responsibilities, location, qualifications, experience and industry.

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Chief Operating Officer job description FAQs

Which qualities should a good Chief Operating Officer have?

A successful Chief Operating Officer must be adept at providing leadership and vision to the company. Effective COOs are master strategists, visionaries and create an environment that promotes innovation. They also excel in financial management and have executive-level communication and interpersonal skills to persuade and influence stakeholders. Successful Chief Operating Officers know how to delegate, make decisions and are results-driven.

Who does a Chief Operating Officer report to?

The Chief Operating Officer reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company or the equivalent.

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