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AFP Press Release

Despite Economic Crisis, Financial Professionals Hold Their Own in Compensation Growth

Executive salary increases no longer the highest; Certification correlates to upward mobility


June 25, 2009 - Bethesda, MD - CFOs, treasurers and their staff continued to earn larger raises than other white-collar workers during 2008. However, the people who manage finance at major organizations in North America were not exempt from the effects of the current recession as their salary increases were smaller than they had received in recent years. These are the key findings of the Association for Financial Professionals' (AFP's) 2009 Compensation Report.

Average annual salaries for financial professionals increased by 3.4 percent in 2008, more than 13 percent higher than the national average but less than the 4.5 percent increase reported for 2007. Bonuses averaged 15 percent of financial professionals' base salaries, matching the prior year.

The report, which is published annually, asked senior level financial professionals to provide compensation information for their entire treasury/finance staff and asked core level financial professionals to provide compensation information for themselves for the period Jan. 1, 2008 to Jan. 1, 2009.

Whereas the executive level of the profession had earned the highest percentage increases in base salary in the prior year, middle management outpaced them for the 2009 survey period. The executive level (CFO, Vice President of Finance, Treasurer, Controller/Comptroller, and Director of Treasury/Finance) earned 3.5% salary increases compared to 3.7% for middle management (Assistant Treasurer through Assistant Cash Manager). Within the executive tier, treasurers reported slightly larger increases than CFOs, 3.9 percent compared to 3.2 percent.

Of all job titles across the board, the highest percentage increase was 5.7% for Managers of Treasury/Finance, down from 6.6% for the same title in the prior year.

In addition to salaries and bonuses, survey respondents noted other benefits such as health and life insurance, vacation and retirement contributions in their overall compensation packages. Despite rising health insurance premiums, every organization surveyed provided health insurance to employees and 96 percent provided dental coverage; however, cost sharing did increase.

Upward Mobility 

A full 85 percent of organizations reported increased job responsibility as the number one factor influencing an employee's job advancement, up from 83 percent in the prior year. As in prior years, advanced degrees and professional certifications correlated to increased salaries. MBA holders, for example, earned 23% more than those with only a bachelor's degree did. The survey also found that professional certifications such as the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation tended to bolster a professional's salary potential at all levels, regardless of advanced degree or job title. Support-level positions benefited the most from certification, averaging a 30 percent increase in salary over those uncertified.

Factors that contributed to upward mobility included:

  • Increased job responsibility
  • Contribution to profitability
  • Professional designations and certifications
  • Earning an MBA

 About the Survey 

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) conducted its 21st annual compensation survey in February 2009. Compensation information for finance, treasury, and accounting positions was measured by job title, education, geographic region, industry, company size, gross revenue and years of experience. The report also presents analysis on pay structures, documents general compensation trends for the finance profession, and includes job descriptions. AFP collected data from over 3,000 incumbents in over 2,000 companies, reflecting a diverse respondent base with evenly distributed demographics, primarily in North America.

About AFP® 

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) serves a network of more than 16,000 treasury and finance professionals. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, AFP provides members with breaking news, economic research and data on the evolving world of treasury and finance, as well as world-class treasury certification programs, networking events, financial analytical tools, training, and public policy representation to legislators and regulators. AFP is the daily resource for treasury and finance professionals.

AFP's global reach extends to over 150,000 treasury and financial professionals worldwide, including AFP of Canada, AFP's gtnews, an on-line resource for the treasury and finance community, and the London-based bobsguide, a financial IT solutions network.

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