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Global CFO Barometer 2012


The CFO’s outlook on today’s changing financial climate, professional responsibility and career aspirations.



Laurent Leloup
Laurent Leloup
Table of contents:
Editorial 3
Executive summary 4
Company’s financial performance diverges
from regional economy 6
The image of the stereotypical CFO is only partially correct 8
Financial expertise is not enough – CFOs must be versatile 12
Ambitious career goals require mobility and lifelong learning 13
CFOs are leaders and view themselves as the CEO’s partner 15
Companies want to retain employees and optimize processes and costs 16
Sluggish job market for finance experts 18

Executive summary

Companies are performing well

The economic situation for companies in 2012 is good, particularly in Asia and South America. North America can only expect muted economic growth, while Europe’s economic output is likely to shrink in the course of the Eurozone crisis. Yet the majority of companies surveyed worldwide assess their own financial performance in 2012 as good, or at least satisfactory. The ongoing Eurozone crisis is having surprisingly little effect on companies’ management decisions, not even in Europe, contrary to expectations.

Older CFOs earn more

CFOs’ salaries vary greatly in an international comparison. However, a CFO’s income depends on his or her age: generally, the older the CFO, the higher the salary. In North America, CFOs are significantly older than the international average; as a result, remuneration is more handsome and incomes have a larger than average variable component. In addition, the starting age for a CFO is higher than the international average – it takes markedly longer to become a CFO in North America.

In Europe, CFOs earn considerably less; however, the variable salary component is also smaller there. In addition, Europeans attain the position of CFO at a young age: almost half the respondents had not reached the age of 35 when they became CFO.

Furthermore, female CFOs, who are still markedly in the minority in terms of numbers, tend to be found more frequently in the lower income groups.

Experience working abroad is important to CFOs, particularly if they work in large companies. Moreover, it pays off too, as CFOs who have worked abroad tend to be among the better earners in the CFO league. CFOs see themselves as having deficits in the area of communication and presentation, almost half the respondents see themselves as needing to develop these skills further.

CFOs are versatile, mobile and ambitious: many want to become CEO

Generally, CFOs have a broad range of tasks that comprise not only their companies’ financial issues, but frequently also general administrative tasks, legal or human resource functions. They work in close collaboration with the CEO; three-quarters of respondents described their working relationship with the CEO as a partnership, or at least as a team.

Today, changing locations or employers is part and parcel of a CFO’s career planning. CFOs are...

Read more. Download the PDF below.

Laurent Leloup

Jeudi 12 Juillet 2012
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