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CFO Compensation Benchmarking Resources

Patrick McCann's Profile

Can anyone suggest a relevant and reliable resource to get compensation benchmarking information for private company CFO's, controllers and accounting staff? I am interested in benchmarking based upon:


Reference URL:


Topic Expert
Paul Benedetto
Title: CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant
Company: Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics
(CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant, Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics) |

I have found over the years that the accounting recruiting firms (e.g. Robert Half, K-force, etc.) put out a decent guide annually, broken out by job responsibility, size of company (revenue), and geography. In addition, a somewhat new company Pay Scale ( is a good independent source - we used them at a prior company to evaluate the comp structure for the entire company, and on a separate occasion when the board was evaluating executive comp. This was all in an effort to move closer to what was then market on a systematic basis. I believe Pay Scale has a subscription service option.

Kayla Briggs
Title: Senior Manager
Company: AICPA
(Senior Manager, AICPA) |

Have you looked at the IMA salary guide they published each year

Michele King
Title: CFO/PEO Operations Director
(CFO/PEO Operations Director, ) |

I've never been too impressed with the RobertHalf, etc. salary surveys. However, Milliman puts out an extensive salary survey annually, and it's broken out in all types of categories (job type, business size, geography.

Kenneth Goldman
Title: EVP, CFO & Treasurer
Company: Black Duck Software, Inc.
(EVP, CFO & Treasurer, Black Duck Software, Inc.) |

Try ( .I was the CFO there a number of years ago and the data is very good. Payscale is user reported data whereas is company reported data. User reported data is just not as credible. has free high level data or for a reasonable subscription cost, even more specific data. All of the numbers are adjusted for size, location, industry and other factors.

I no longer work at and sold all of my shares so I have no vested interest other than that I am a former employee (and current satisfied customer).

Michael Jameson
Title: VP Finance
Company: Undisclosed
(VP Finance, Undisclosed) |

Radford ( great salary data, but if you are looking for data for yourself, they won't let you access it like It is there to be accessed only by companies who buy the data for their company (perhaps if you are a CFO who also heads up HR for your company). Equilar is another one you could try (

Michael B. Hutchison
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Pine Island Chemicals
(Chief Financial Officer, Pine Island Chemicals) |

If you are a member, FEI puts out an annual survey of it's membership that is pretty good.

Danny Hernandez
Title: CFO
Company: ForeScout Technologies, Inc.
(CFO, ForeScout Technologies, Inc.) |

We participated in the salary survey for as requested by our VC's. This provides salary and variable compensation along with equity holdings. You can narrow the data by technology, revenue, region, etc.

John Ragazzini
Title: CFO
Company: Spraylat Corporation
(CFO, Spraylat Corporation) |

The annual survey put out by AFP (Association for Financial Professionals)is the best I've seen. It splits comp between salary and bonus for 25 different finance/accounting positions and differentiates by six factors: Educational Background, Geographic Region, Industry, Number of Employees, Gross Revenue and Years of Experience.

Patrick McCann
Title: CFO
Company: UVA Foundation
(CFO, UVA Foundation) |

Have you found value in belonging to the AFP?

John Ragazzini
Title: CFO
Company: Spraylat Corporation
(CFO, Spraylat Corporation) |

My sense is there is value in belonging, given all their professional products and offerings. I do not take as much advantage of it as I should. However their comp survey is worth the price alone in my view. I contribute to the data (as do many AFP members) so I know the data is real.

Shu Kurosaki
Title: VP Finance and Treasurer
Company: Private
(VP Finance and Treasurer, Private) |

I think it all depends on the industry that you are in. In the case for life sciences, I used the following in combination:

- Thelander: this is specific to VC backed private companies. They split the survey between pharma, medical device and green. They may have other groupings. I found this survey to be most helpful - they show salary and bonuses separately, showing the minimum, 25%, 50%, median, 75% and max ranges. They also disclose stock option ranges in the same manner. I strongly recommend Jody Thelander's survey.

- Compsurvey: this is done by E&Y; our survey was life science specific. It's not as concrete in terms of numbers, but it is useful. Again, this is great for private companies.

- Radford is fine, but they include public company data; this may or may not work to your advantage in arguing higher salaries.

- Top 5 used to do private company surveys until they sold that part of the business. They may be coming back to do private companies, so keep that in mind for future reference.

- ORCC: this was a painful survey to take, and found it marginally helpful. Nonetheless, it's another source.

- OptionImpact: we had VCs request that we do it, but the data points were scarce. Perhaps this survey will grow over time, but the last time I checked (over a year ago), I was disappointed.

- I've found that recruiters do put salary surveys out, but they group all industries. This may or may not work to your advantage; the issue with this is that they generally show ranges, not numbers showing minimum, average, median, max, etc.


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