The Modern CFO
There’s a CFO crisis in the global economy and the Top CFO Search Firms are here to solve it. According to a 2015 study published by KPMG, 2/3 of surveyed CEOs believe that CFOs will increase in their significance over the next three years (which, incidentally, they have). Yet, 1/3 of those CEOs feel that their CFO is not up to the challenge. Now, this might not sound like news- CEOs putting pressure on CFOs is certainly not an unprecedented 21st-century phenomenon—but it’s not just the CEOs of the world demanding more of Chief Financial Officers. It’s everyone.
There was a time when the role of the CFO was grounded in risk aversion and crisis management. They were the ones maximizing company resources, monitoring cash flow, and tempering the large-scale visions of more creative executives to ensure longevity and stability. In 2020, however, the scope of a CFOs role is radically different. CFOs are now getting wrangled into more public-facing responsibilities, developing equal partnerships with CEOs, and taking an active role in day-to-day operational management according to long-term strategic policy.
Why? Because companies who don’t lean on their CFOs fall flat.
Top CFO Search Firm for Chief Financial Officers
Cowen Partners is a national CFO executive search firm, enabling companies to harness the power of human capital to fuel their success. Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of Chief Financial Officers to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world-class talent. Our clients are both small and large, publicly-traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion.
Cowen Partners Executive Search has particular expertise in the following areas: accounting and finance, IPO preparation, SEC reporting, corporate tax, financial institutions (banks and credit unions), enterprise software including technology, SaaS, and managed services, and rapid growth private equity/venture capital-backed deals. With our proven processes and guaranteed results, we have successfully placed hundreds of candidates in industries including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, financial services, and private equity.
Cowen Partners Executive search provides recruitment services to all major and minor industries including:
Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Biotechnology, Banking, Board and CEO Services, Computer Hardware, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Computer Software and Hardware, Education, Energy & Utilities, Entertainment & Sports, Finance, Financial Services, Food Products, Government, Human Resources, Health Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Insurance, Industrial, Internet & New Media, Legal, Journalism & Publishing, Marketing, Manufacturing, Medical Device, Non-Profit, Pharmaceutical, Real Estate, Retail & Apparel, Sales, Technology, Telecommunications, and Transportation.
What is the Average Salary of a CFO?
The Wall Street Journal published a list of the five highest-paid CFOs. They included:
- Safra Catz at Oracle Corp. ($108.3 million)
- Ruth M. Porat at Alphabet Inc. ($47.3 million)
- Luca Maestri at Apple Inc. ($26.5 million)
- Michael Fleisher at Wayfair Inc. ($23.6 million)
- John P. Nallen at 21st Century Fox Inc. ($20.8 million).
These numbers are a far cry from the national average CFO salary. According to Payscale, the average CFO will receive a salary of $133,000.00. Regardless of the total dollar amount, however, we must delineate salary from total compensation. As the complexities of company management expand, so too do the kinds of rewards. Total compensation is an umbrella term that encompasses both a base salary as well as additional benefits, bonuses, stock shares (in publicly traded companies), and perks.
Cash bonuses are often commission-based or tied to specific performance benchmarks while perks come in the form of golden handcuffs or golden parachutes, which incentivize an executive to stay for a particular amount of time or guarantee them financial compensation upon the end of their tenure respectively. General Electric’s Carolina Dybeck Happe holds an $8 million golden handcuff agreement the conglomerate and Stanley O’Neal, Merrill Lynch’s former CEO, famously pocketed $161.5 million from his golden parachute agreement.
Average CFO Salary & Compensation
The median base salary of a CFO is $362,030, and the median total compensation package (including bonus, healthcare, and retirement) is $506,386, according to recent data. While these averages can be helpful points of reference when creating or evaluating compensation packages, it’s crucial to remember that each CFO is compensated differently, depending on the company in question. Non-profits, private companies, and public companies all compensate their executives differently and in proportion to their previous and potential earnings. According to the latest reports show that CFOs at private companies earn an average base salary of:
- $194,354 (for companies with annual revenue less than $20MM)
- $237,983 (for companies with annual revenue between $21MM and $99MM)
With benefits and bonuses, the average CFO salary can be anywhere from $225,000 to $275,000, depending on the size of the business.
Chief Financial Officer Job Description
Although businesses may need unique skills for a future chief financial officer, the following CFO job description covers the general qualifications required for this position.
- Develops financial wellbeing of the organization by providing financial projections and accounting services, preparing growth plans, and directing staff.
- Accomplishes finance human resource strategies by determining accountabilities; communicating and enforcing values, policies, and procedures; implementing recruitment, selection, orientation, training, coaching, counseling, disciplinary, and communication programs; planning, monitoring, appraising, and reviewing job contributions; and planning and reviewing compensation strategies.
- Develops finance organizational strategies by contributing financial and accounting information, analysis, and recommendations to strategic thinking and direction and establishing functional objectives in line with organizational objectives.
- Establishes finance operational strategies by evaluating trends; establishing critical measurements; determining production, productivity, quality, and customer-service strategies; designing systems; accumulating resources; resolving problems; and implementing change.
- Develops organization prospects by studying economic trends and revenue opportunities; projecting acquisition and expansion prospects; analyzing organization operations; identifying opportunities for improvement, cost reduction, and systems enhancement; and accumulating capital to fund expansion.
- Develops financial strategies by forecasting capital, facilities, and staff requirements; identifying monetary resources; and developing action plans.
- Monitors financial performance by measuring and analyzing results, initiating corrective actions, and minimizing the impact of variances.
- Maximizes return on invested funds by identifying investment opportunities and maintaining relationships with the investment community.
- Reports financial status by developing forecasts, reporting results, analyzing variances, and developing improvements.
- Updates job knowledge by remaining aware of new regulations, participating in educational opportunities, reading professional publications, maintaining personal networks, and participating in professional organizations.
- Accomplishes finance and organization mission by completing related results as needed.
Cowen Partners is a leading CFO Search Firm and has a strong record of identifying and recruiting Chief Financial Officers for public, private and non-profit organizations. Contact us if you would like to discuss recruiting an exceptional CFO for your company. Read more of our CFO search firm resources to see why Cowen Partners is a leading executive search firm in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and beyond:
- Chief Financial Officer: The Ultimate Hiring Guide
- Top 20 CFO Interview Questions – Cowen Partners
- Chief Financial Officer Job Description
- Cowen Partners Average CFO Salary Guide
- CFO 2020: The Modern CFO
- Recruiting and Hiring in the Age of Covid-19
- Moving From Theory to Practice When Recruiting for Executive Diversity