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Chief Revenue Officers


The keeping of financial records dates back to the early days of trading. Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans used early accounting methods, such as on clay tablets, to record transactions for trades related to livestock and crops.

Fast-forward to centuries later, interest grew in the management and financial oversight of manufacturing operations due to the technological advances during the Industrial Revolution. Manufacturing plants needed to integrate production workers with the new, automated production processes in ways that were efficient and increased revenue. Companies sought out individuals with knowledge and experience to gather and review financial information, create reports, and develop strategies to better maintain and improve on the companies' finances.

In the 20th century, decades of research and inventions had laid the foundation for the creation of the computer and computing technology. By the early 1970s, many computer companies were established in the San Francisco Bay area of California, which was dubbed Silicon Valley. These companies wanted to ensure that their engineering, product design, production process, pricing, marketing, sales, and other functions were integrated in ways to maximize their revenue generation. The chief revenue officer role is thought to have originated in Silicon Valley, with the purpose of overseeing and guiding computer companies' strategic plans for revenue generation. As described in a article, "... the CRO was born in Silicon Valley to capitalize on new revenue opportunities created by digital products and services—particularly the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry."

Today, companies in a variety of industries have chief revenue officers on staff to monitor and improve on their revenue streams. Companies also need chief revenue officers to ensure that their revenue strategies and operations are in compliance with regulations and laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002), which requires higher levels of financial accounting and disclosure from all publicly held companies.

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