Wages continue to grow for financial leadership roles

The last three years have been turbulent for financial leaders and accountants across different roles and industries.

CFOs increasingly pivoted to the remote work model, the number of auditors and accountants in the workforce decreased significantly and innovations like AI shook the industry, but one of the most unprecedented developments we saw affecting financial leadership roles was wage growth.

At Charles Aris, we track compensation for a variety of roles and industries by compiling reports with salary rates, equity packages, bonuses and other details from the offers we help coordinate between our clients and candidates. To gain a better understanding of the financial talent market as we near 2024, we looked at the past two Finance & Accounting Offer Reports to show wage growth for three common roles:

  1. CFOs
  2. Strategic Finance / Financial Planning and Analysis Leaders
  3. Controllers

But first, what’s causing this unprecedented wage growth?

A severe labor shortage in 2020-2021 contributed to a candidate-driven labor market in 2022, where workers routinely switched jobs for pay increases upwards of 50%. This wage growth is among the biggest reasons the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates to cool overall inflation.

Finance and accounting wages are still growing, but at a slower pace. Here’s what we found after comparing our two latest offer reports:

  1. CFO: 3% income increase. Middle-market CFOs continue to command a strong compensation package. On average, our offers for 2023 have been ~$345,000 (average base salary of $252,000 with a $94,000 annualized bonus, or 37% of base). The total represents a 3% increase from our ’23 spring offer report to our ’23 fall offer report.
  2. FP&A: 2% income increase. Regarding the strategic finance / FP&A seat, we have seen consistency in offers for 2023. Irrespective of title, our average offers for the year have been ~$242,000 (average base salary of $192,000 with a $50,000 annualized bonus, or 26% of base). This is an increase of 2% from our ’23 spring offer report to our ’23 fall offer report.
  3. Controller: 6% income increase. The most telling change we’ve seen in 2023 has been in the controller seat, with average offers for the year totaling ~$266,000 (average base salary of $206,000 with a $60,000 annualized bonus, or 29% of base). Compared to our ’23 spring offer report, this represents the highest increase of 6% for the year.

The takeaway:

Wage inflation continues to grow across the board, albeit at a decreased rate relative to what we saw in late 2021 and full-year 2022. We forecast that our clients will continue to extend offers that exceed 2022 numbers as the pool of available talent in finance and accounting ranks are measurably smaller than they were just a few years ago, especially for auditors and accountants.

To learn more, contact Ryan Morgan at ryan.morgan@charlesaris.com or (336) 217-9105.