CFO Salary Guide

What is the average CFO salary?

The average salary of a CFO in the USA is $441,000 but the variance from this average can be significant. We see CFO roles advertised with salaries (excluding bonuses and stock-based compensation) of anything from $100k to $600k per year.

The key drivers of salary for a CFO are the scope of the role (often impacted by the size of the organization), the experience of the individual and the location.

How do CFO salaries vary by organization size?

One of the key factors in determining the likely salary for a CFO role is the size of the organization. The size not only impacts the financial resources available to actually remunerate the CFO but it will also impact the scope and the complexity of the role.

  • Small companies (revenues less than $50 million): Salaries might range from $90,000 to $200,000.
  • Mid-sized companies (revenues between $50 million and $500 million): CFOs can expect to earn between $150,000 and $300,000.
  • Large companies (revenues over $500 million): Salaries can exceed $300,000, often reaching into the $400,000 to $600,000 range, not including bonuses and equity compensation.

How do CFO salaries vary by experience?

  • Less than 5 years: It’s rare for CFOs to have less than five years of experience due to the extensive experience required for the role, but those in the early stages of this position might earn on the lower end of the spectrum, typically between $90,000 and $150,000.
  • 5 to 10 years: With increasing responsibility and proven results, CFOs with this level of experience often earn between $150,000 and $250,000.
  • 10 to 20 years: More experienced CFOs can command salaries from $250,000 to $350,000 or more, especially if they have demonstrated success in significant financial projects or improvements.
  • 20+ years: Veteran CFOs, especially those in large corporations or profitable sectors, may earn well above $350,000, often supplemented with substantial bonuses and equity.

How do I earn more as a CFO?

Industry Specialization

  • Data shows that CFOs in certain industries tend to earn more. The top 5 highest-paying industries for CFOs in the US are:
    • Technology
    • Healthcare
    • Financial Services
    • Energy
    • Manufacturing

Company Size and Public vs. Private

  • Company Size: Generally, CFOs at larger companies with higher revenue tend to earn more. CFOs at Fortune 500 companies can see total compensation packages exceeding $5 million.
  • Public vs. Private: Public companies with stricter regulations and reporting requirements often pay their CFOs more.

Experience and Track Record

CFOs with extensive experience, a proven track record of success in driving financial performance, and leading complex initiatives naturally command higher salaries. Executive search company Heidrick & Struggles states there is a growing demand for CFOs with strategic thinking and a global perspective, which can translate to higher compensation.


While not a direct guarantee of higher earnings, specific certifications can enhance your credibility and potentially position you for opportunities in specialized CFO roles. Some relevant options include:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – A widely recognized credential demonstrating expertise in accounting principles.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) – This certification focuses on business strategy and financial management, potentially increasing your appeal for strategic CFO roles.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – This designation demonstrates expertise in investment analysis and portfolio management. While not directly related to core CFO duties, it could be valuable for CFOs involved in M&A activity or investor relations.