A greater number of financial executives received salary increases this year than last and the amount was slightly higher, according to a survey from Grant Thornton LLP, a global tax, audit and advisory firm.
About 80 percent of chief financial offices, finance vice presidents and other respondents working for public companies got raises this year, up from 74 percent last year.
The rate of increase was also better; 4 percent this year vs. 3 percent last year. And, among both public and private companies, the number of financial executives not receiving a salary increase was down to 26 percent from 34 percent in 2011 and 56 percent in 2010.
Ken Cameron a director in the firm’s compensation and benefits consulting practice, said better compensation is a result of a slightly healthier economy.
“As the economy starts to improve a little bit,” Cameron said, "financial executives representing the top talent within the organization will have other job opportunities to consider. The best performing, top brass executives have probably seen increases between four and six percent this year."
While salaries may be going up, perks are not. Fewer executives are flying first class, or being awarded executive country club memberships or box seats at sporting events. These kinds of perks may be offered from time to time, but only if they have a clear business purpose, said Cameron.
Grant Thornton received a total of 714 responses to its financial executives survey, with 63 percent coming from private company CFOs, controllers, finance VPs and accounting officers, among others. Public company executives represented 30 percent of respondents.
The survey, which was presented at the Financial Executives Institute Conference in New York earlier this month, also found:
• Just 26 percent of all survey respondents indicated they receive a long-term cash incentive, based on other calculations, phantom shares or phantom equity rights, or in the form of deferred compensation. This is a small increase from 2011, when 25 percent of respondents received such a benefit.
• For public company corporate CFOs, the average base salary is $286,500, an increase from the prior year’s survey average of $277,400. Thirty-five individuals, or 71 percent, reported an average increase of 4 percent. For private company corporate CFOs, the average base salary is $197,400, slightly less than last year’s average.
• The majority of public company corporate CFOs (88 percent) and private company CFOs (82 percent) receive an annual bonus. About one-quarter of public CFO respondents (24 percent) receive additional cash-based, long-term incentive awards, while a little more than one-quarter of private CFO respondents (26 percent) receive them. Adding these incentive awards to base salary, the average total cash compensation for the public company CFO is $459,301 and for the private company CFO is $277,979.
• The average base salary for public company finance VPs is $219,500. The majority (81 percent) received an average salary increase of 4 percent. The average base salary for private company vice presidents of finance is $174,100. Thirty-five individuals received an average salary increase of 4 percent.
• Most public and private company VPs finance received annual bonuses. Most do not receive additional cash-based, long-term incentive awards. For those who do, in the form of deferred compensation, the average total cash compensation for public VPs finance is $333,172 and for private company VPs finance is $226,034.
• More than three-quarters of public company VPs finance (81 percent) receive a form of stock-based, long-term incentive award. Of the types of share-based payment, restricted stock/ restricted stock options are the most popular with 78 percent of public company finance VPs getting them. More than half (59 percent) receive dividends or dividend equivalents on the stock-based awards. A few private company VPs finance (32 percent) receive a form of stock-based, long-term incentive award.