Reading Time: 9 minutes
Posted On: January 8, 2018 by Henry R. Steele

The following article discusses the career path of Chief Financial Officer. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Chief Financial Officers.

Job Duties

Chief financial officers (CFO) are responsible for the full financial operations within the organization. They are leaders who ensure finance and accounting departments function efficiently and are fully compliant with all relevant laws, as well as various company policies. Their work ensures that a company presents itself properly, is profitable, and minimizes waste.

Commonly, a CFO heads other departments, including those involved in accounts payable and receivable, debt management, tax, investments, pricing, and purchasing. Sometimes, they take a more hands-on approach, recording transactions in databases and books. They then report on their findings to other managers in the company, for which they require strong presentation and communication skills. Furthermore, they may have to conduct audits and research in order to ensure that all IRS guidelines are complied with.

Other job duties of chief financial officers are:

  • To create internal control procedures, guidelines, and policies in relation to accounting, credit and cash management, and budget administration
  • To direct preparation of reports required by external agencies, annual budgets, financial position forecasts, business activity reports, and/or financial statements
  • To provide coordination and leadership to the company’s budgeting, accounting, business planning, and administrative efforts

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.3 million general and operations managers in 2016, of which CFOs are some. The largest employers of these professionals were:

How to Become

The exact education of CFOs varies depending on the industry they work for. However, a bachelor’s degree in a financial or business administration field is usually required. Furthermore, most CFOs have considerable work experience.

Education Requirements

While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, the majority of CFOs now hold a master’s degree, usually the master of business administration (MBA). Others focus more strongly on liberal arts, law, or public administration, depending on the industry in which they work

Having significant experience is usually of greater importance but most CFOs have climbed the ranks within their own organization, starting at entry level and moving to lower management and then senior management positions. Sometimes, external candidates are brought in because they provide a fresh, outsider look on the company. In this case, education weighs heavier as a requirement for the job.

Many CFOs have a background in accountancy. As a result, it is common for them to be Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). This also means they are able to submit reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Traits & Qualities

The most effective CFOs have the following traits to some degree or other:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong decision making skills
  • Leadership skills, being able to motivate others
  • Management skills
  • Excellent problem solvers
  • Strong time management skills
  • Strong computer skills
  • Advanced knowledge of finance, budgeting, and accounting

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Chief Financial Officer was $130,123. This number is estimated from over 1,584,724 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $67.77 and monthly of $10,844.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$32,000

$292,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Chief Financial Officer salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Alaska had the largest quoted salary of $179,730 while Kansas had the smallest quoted salary of $76,350.

Alaska Illinois Montana Rhode Island
Alabama Indiana North Carolina South Carolina
Arkansas Kansas North Dakota South Dakota
Arizona Kentucky Nebraska Tennessee
California Louisiana New Jersey Texas
Colorado Massachusetts New Mexico Utah
Connecticut Maryland Nevada Virginia
DC Maine New York Vermont
Florida Michigan Ohio Washington
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma Wisconsin
Hawaii Missouri Oregon West Virginia
Iowa Mississippi Pennsylvania Wyoming
Alaska$179,730 Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Tatum, a Randstad company.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$38,000

$427,000

Salary Distribution
Alabama$118,015 Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Birmingham City Schools.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$33,000

$253,000

Salary Distribution
Arkansas$114,158 Rank: 35th
The average salary ranks 35th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Carter Recruiting and Associates, CNI Recruiting, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$31,000

$250,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$114,544 Rank: 34th
The average salary ranks 34th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, State of Arizona, Friendship Village Tempe, and MY DR NOW.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$27,000

$261,000

Salary Distribution
California$148,971 Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Ryan Miller & Associates, Lewis Group of Companies, Laurus Search & Staffing, and Buxbaum HCS.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$43,000

$316,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$125,786 Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Colorado Department of Human Services, Trimble & Associates Inc, Phoenix Capital Partners, and Healthcare Employment Partners.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$28,000

$293,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$129,646 Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, D&V/Mainsail, Robert Half Management Resources, and Contract Staffing Recruiters.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$38,000

$273,000

Salary Distribution
DC$131,966 Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Confidential – Architectural Firm, Department of Transportation, U.S. Government, and Federal Election Commission.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$37,000

$283,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$131,033 Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like South Florida Recruiters, gre, Leading Childcare company, and Global Advisory Solutions, LLC.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$32,000

$297,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$116,042 Rank: 31st
The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, Career Builder Construction Jobs, CyberCoders, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$27,000

$265,000

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$99,186 Rank: 45th
The average salary ranks 45th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$28,000

$213,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$117,435 Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Management Recruiters of Wausau, Robert Half, Palmer Group, and Cube Management.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$39,000

$236,000

Salary Distribution
Illinois$132,666 Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Keystone Advisors, Solomon Page, The laSalle Network, and Parker and Lynch.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$31,000

$305,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$120,330 Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like City Of Indianapolis and Marion County, State of Indiana, CIG, and Interregional Med-Exec Group, Inc..

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$34,000

$257,000

Salary Distribution
Kansas$76,350 Rank: 48th
The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Specialists Group LLC, The, KANSAS HUMANE SOCIETY, Bell & Associates, Inc., and Aureus Group.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$14,000

$188,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$111,363 Rank: 38th
The average salary ranks 38th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like StaffPointe, Callos Resource, and ECRENT Worldwide Company Limited.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$33,000

$233,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$110,335 Rank: 39th
The average salary ranks 39th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Hospital, New Orleans, LA, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and CyberCoders.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$25,000

$256,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$138,447 Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Daley and Associates, Fenway Search Group, Manning Personnel Group Inc, and CyberCoders.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$39,000

$298,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$125,880 Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Maryland, Viridium, Randstad Professionals, and CyberCoders.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$35,000

$271,000

Salary Distribution
Maine$107,070 Rank: 42nd
The average salary ranks 42nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$22,000

$257,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$119,837 Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Confidential Seacrch, Crossfire, UHY LLP, and CyberCoders.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$31,000

$265,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$128,073 Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like SALO, LLC, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, MnSure, and Minnesota Department of Human Services.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$32,000

$286,000

Salary Distribution
Missouri$122,482 Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Roland and Associates, Fast Search, Beacon Hill Staffing, and StaffPointe.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$29,000

$281,000

Salary Distribution
Mississippi$162,115 Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Larry White Associates, Executive Healthcare Recruiters, StaffPointe, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$36,000

$377,000

Salary Distribution
Montana$107,449 Rank: 41st
The average salary ranks 41st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like KONNEKT Talent Search and Selection.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$15,000

$289,000

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$112,963 Rank: 36th
The average salary ranks 36th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, CyberCoders, and Fairview Search Group, LLC.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$26,000

$261,000

Salary Distribution
North Dakota$112,534 Rank: 37th
The average salary ranks 37th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Spherion.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$33,000

$238,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$117,229 Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska, Equity opportunity with highly profitable firm, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$40,000

$233,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$149,852 Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, Open Systems Professional, Interregional Med-Exec Group, Inc., and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$41,000

$326,000

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$96,215 Rank: 47th
The average salary ranks 47th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Management Recruiters of the Sandias, New Mexico State Personnel Office, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and Accountemps.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$18,000

$236,000

Salary Distribution
Nevada$128,213 Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Accountemps, Martin Search Partners, The Aspen Group, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$46,000

$251,000

Salary Distribution
New York$153,944 Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like RWP Solutions, Solomon Page, Reliance Communications, and Kforce Finance and Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$40,000

$342,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$110,214 Rank: 40th
The average salary ranks 40th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Vaco, LLC, SnapDragon Associates, LLC, CyberCoders, and CMax Advisors.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$26,000

$250,000

Salary Distribution
Oklahoma$124,315 Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Fuse3 Solutions, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, OKLAHOMA CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, and Seres Smith Consulting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$32,000

$276,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$122,257 Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, KTC TECH, PENDLETON GRAIN GROWERS, and Portland Search Group.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$34,000

$265,000

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$125,255 Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Washington Pennsylvania, Robert Half Management Resources, CSS, and firstPRO Inc..

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$32,000

$277,000

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$120,546 Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like SearchAccountingJobs and Accounting Career Network.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$33,000

$261,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$115,899 Rank: 33rd
The average salary ranks 33rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like FGP International and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$33,000

$249,000

Salary Distribution
South Dakota$102,748 Rank: 43rd
The average salary ranks 43rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Executive Recruiting Services, Inc..

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$23,000

$240,000

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$115,968 Rank: 32nd
The average salary ranks 32nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Vaco, LLC, Health/Wellness Clinics, Sovereign Executive Search, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$27,000

$267,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$129,594 Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Access Staffing, LLC, Oscar Energy, Laurus Group, and The Icard Enterprises.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$32,000

$292,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$128,761 Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, International Search Consultants, and Solar, Salt Lake City, UT.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$33,000

$286,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$121,517 Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Cordia Resources, CyberCoders, Capital Search Group, and Alexandria City Public Schools.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$30,000

$275,000

Salary Distribution
Vermont$96,413 Rank: 46th
The average salary ranks 46th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Capstone Community Action, Inc.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$31,000

$196,000

Salary Distribution
Washington$145,533 Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, Portland Search Group, Seattle Search Group, and Seattle Art Museum.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$53,000

$281,000

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$120,434 Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like OnTrack, LLC, Accounting Career Network, Management Recruiters of Wausau, and Network. Eau Claire.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$25,000

$288,000

Salary Distribution
West Virginia$99,645 Rank: 44th
The average salary ranks 44th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Adecco and Express Employment Professionals.

  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$20,000

$240,000

Salary Distribution
Wyoming$124,312 Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Conner Recruiting and StaffPointe.

  • .
  • .
  • .
  • Most Reported
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

$58,000

$214,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Chief Financial Officer. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer Name Location Average Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

As Seen On

BusinessStudent.com provides students of business with the opportunities to get ahead in their career.

“It doesn't matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” - Mark Cuban