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CFOs' Deputies Faring Well in Current Job Market

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 6, 2022


Being No. 2 is not so bad these days if you work in a finance department, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Those executives working just below the CFO level—such as treasurers, heads of accounting, controllers and vice presidents of finance—are benefiting from increasing responsibilities and are, in turn, is arousing the interest of corporate recruiters. 

Experts attribute the twin phenomena to a confluence of factors: First, some CFOs have taken on a more strategic and operational role recently, leaving more of the financial responsibilities to their deputies. Other factors include the same ones that are boosting salaries for many corporate leaders: "a tight labor market, the more frequent use of one-time cash or stock awards and double-digit increases in annual cash bonus payouts after many companies last year exceeded their financial targets,” the Journal reported.

The Journal cited benefits advisory firm Mercer in reporting that corporate treasurers’ media cash bonuses increased by 23 percent from a year ago, totaling $134,500. Total median compensation for the corporate treasurer role—including salary, cash bonuses and stock awards—rose by 6 percent to $441,230, over the same period. Corporate treasurers are among the highest paid finance roles outside of CFOs. By comparison, Mercer reported that the median bonuses for CFOs jumped by 50 percent, to $684,200, and that their median total compensation rose by 58 percent to just over $2 million. 

Chief accounting officers have been in particularly high demand, according to the Journal. “Some companies are offering salaries that are as much as 20 percent higher than what the executive earned before,” recruiting firm Stanton Chase’s CFO and financial executives practice head Cathy Logue told the Journal. In one prominent example, Netflix lured Ken Barker away from Electronic Arts with a $2.4 million salary, along with an annual stock-option allowance of $600,000, according to a regulatory filing. 

According to Mercer, vice presidents of accounting received a 12 percent raise in their median pay in the most recent fiscal year, up to $388,400, the Journal reported.

Controllers and finance vice presidents are also cashing in on this boom. Their total median compensation increase by 14 percent and 15 percent, respectively, to $358,250 and $417,550. 

Lower-level treasurers also did well, according to a survey conducted by the Association for Financial Professionals and quoted by the Journal. The survey reported that treasurers received a 31 percent increase in their annual bonus during the 2021 calendar year, compared with 2020, earning an average of $92,055.

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