CFO salary: finance executive compensation in 2024

Elizabeth Dulcich photo
Elizabeth Dulcich

Published on June 28, 2024


Salary discussions are still considered taboo in most of the professional world, even in 202'. Due to this culture of silence around salaries, professionals are often left in the dark about what their colleagues and industry peers earn. Without a clear benchmark of what others are earning, finance professionals may be on the losing end of salary negotiations.

To shed light on CFO and finance salaries, we conducted a survey of 750 CFO Connect members from all over the world for the third year in a row.

The subsequent CFO Salary Benchmark found pay disparities between countries, genders, and ages among various roles in finance. This article covers a selection of the report’s findings, which should prove useful in salary negotiations in all finance positions. Let’s dive in!

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CFO salaries in different countries

CFO Connect is a global community with members all over the world. This survey focuses on finance leaders from Europe and North America, and shows the stark differences in pay expectations.

CFOs in the United States receive the highest salaries of those surveyed, by a huge margin. French finance leaders earn half of what their U.S. counterparts make.

CFO Salary Benchmark graph showing CFO salaries in France, Germany, the UK, the US, and Europe

And while French CFO salaries saw a slight increase from 2023 to 2024, they're still significantly behind the rest of Europe.

Salaries have risen overall

Compared to our survey last year, salaries across in general have increased for finance leaders. UK salaries, however, remained stagnant, and US salaries fell dramatically.

Now that we’ve seen the discrepancies between countries, let’s take a closer look at salary differences between finance roles.

How various finance roles are compensated

Of course, how finance experts are paid depends on their specific title and/or role in the company. Predictably, CFO and VP Finance roles tend to earn the highest salaries, whereas Accountants, FP&A Managers, and Finance Managers are at the lower end of the salary scale.

However, company hierarchy doesn’t always dictate salary. Historically, a VP of Finance wouldn’t earn more than a CFO, although our data suggests differently. For the third year in a row, VP Finance roles out-earned CFOs.

There could be several factors influencing this trend in our survey results: negotiation skills, job title inconsistencies between countries or regions, and company size.

CFO Salary Benchmark graph showing average annual salary by job title

Another outlier is the FP&A Manager role. Salaries increased by almost 25% for this position from 2022 to 2023 and a further 10% from 2023 to 2024 . This could possibly be a reflection of the current economic climate. Professionals who have the skills to analyze data and forecast scenarios will be in high demand -- especially for companies looking to survive an economic downturn.

The gender pay gap: a career-long issue

Finance is still a male-dominated field, especially in the upper levels of company hierarchy. And that disparity clearly carries over into salaries. Our survey found that women earn 24% less on average than men in finance roles.

Not only is this gender pay gap consistent across all finance roles, but it exists even at the start of women’s careers. Young women in finance (18-30 years old) earn 11% less on average than their male counterparts.

Interestingly, our survey found a surprising reversal: in the 60+ age range, women seemingly earn more than men. It's unclear whether this is a quirk of the survey, or an emerging trend in finance salaries for women deep into their careers.

CFO Salary Benchmark graph showing annual salary by age and gender

Progress is slow when it comes to the gender pay gap. The fact that men and women start out on unequal footing that lasts for their entire careers means there is still work to be done.

Company size is a determining factor for CFO salary

CFOs’ salaries grow alongside the size of the company. CFOs at large companies earn almost triple that of CFOs at small companies.

CFO Salary Benchmark graph showing average CFO salary by company size

The relationship between company size and CFO compensation probably doesn't come as a shock. Understandably, the bigger the company, the larger the finance team. CFOs of large companies have bigger teams and more people to manage.

Finance professionals are highly educated

This year we collected data on education to determine whether there's a strong link between education and salary.

CFO Salary Benchmark graph showing common degrees held by CFOs and VPs of Finance

It turns out that our survey respondents are highly educated. An overwhelming majority have a graduate degree or even a combination of an advanced degree (Master's) and a special qualification (CPA, CMA).

But does more education automatically translate to higher earnings?

CFO Salary Benchmark graph showing average salary by degree

We looked at the average salary of certain degree holders. Even though a Master's in Finance is one of the most common degrees, it doesn't necessarily lead to a higher salary. But an MBA, especially coupled with another qualification, seems to result in more earnings.

In fact, education is not the most accurate predictor of salary. The difference in salary is actually most likely due to geographical location rather than level of education itself. For example, MBAs and CPAs were most popular among American respondents, where salaries tend to be higher. Master's in Finance degrees are common in Europe, where salaries are not as high.

Main takeaways from the 2024 CFO Salary Benchmark

CFO and other finance experts’ salaries can vary widely according to geographical location, age, role and, unfortunately, gender.

We understand that salaries can be a touchy subject. Our CFO Salary Benchmark aims to shed light on salaries in finance at every level, to ensure that finance experts can recognize their worth and adequately negotiate their salaries.

You can read the report in its entirety here, for free:

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