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Salary Information for Chief Financial Officers

Career News November 13, 2013

Chief Financial Officers (CFO) are sometimes seen as the “second in command” of a business, one who handles all pressing matters related to finance. The job description includes many complex issues such as accounting, budgeting, taxes, insurance contracts, and other variables. Since the job of the CFO is to oversee and maximize profit, he or she must be skilled in a variety of “positions”, always dealing with accounting and statistics. This professional is both experienced and educated, and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The Median and “Average” Salary of a CFO

Yes, this responsibility entitles the applicant to a hefty salary once he or she can prove a level of proficiency. The median salary for a CFO is $130,000, though some individual workers have reported excesses of $300,000 per year. While that number is certainly promising, remember that the salary is partly determined by job position.

For instance, bank managers earn an average of $160,000, whereas a Chief Human Capital Officer earns $145,000 on average. A Chief Financial Planner earns $99,000 on average, and yet a Chief Nursing Officer earns $172,000. A mutual fund administrator only earns $47,000 per year because of limited duties, and an HR payroll specialist earns less.

It’s not merely a title that earns you esteem and wealth, but also represents an industry that you specialize in and enter. The CFO is vital to the success of a business and cannot go unrewarded, unless a company loses a valuable piece of their functioning machine. About 25 to 75 of the percentile of workers earns between $85,000 and $174,000.

The Roles of Experience and Education

Experience merits a higher salary, but you shouldn’t underestimate the role of education. Bachelor’s degree applicants are hired but make less than MBA graduates. The MBA graduating percentile earned $165,000 on average compared to $145,000 of BA graduates. Accounting is the most relevant subject, but CPA status is more important than the field—assuming it’s directly related to finance and business. The ideal coursework covers finance theory and management, an integral part of becoming a CFO.

Education and experience will enable an applicant to be a leader, using managerial skills and negotiation to solve real world problems. Skills that employers expect include managing financial risk, integrating various operations and employees to tackle obstacles, and leveraging special knowledge to guide the company to economic safety.

The Job Outlook and You

The job outlook for this profession is growing and is growing faster than the average profession. If you can apply yourself and showcase your skill set, not limited to but including computer expertise, managerial experience, and solid knowledge of accounting practices, you will stand apart from the competition as someone who merits a higher salary.

While it’s true that the CFO comes from a lengthy career background, everyone starts somewhere—namely a BA degree, then progressing to an MBA. Work your way up from a controller or another position and earn your advancement.

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