Each year, the Association for Financial Professionals conducts a compensation survey that assesses finance and treasury professional earnings. The 2023 AFP Compensation Survey revealed that professionals in these verticals received a 5% increase in their 2022 base salaries — this represents the largest single-year increase in a decade.
The findings of this survey can inform your organization’s finance and treasury employee management strategy and help you better navigate ongoing talent shortages. You can also use these insights to determine whether offering better salaries will help you more effectively retain and hire finance professionals.
With that in mind, let’s dive deeper into the results of the AFP survey.
The 2023 AFP Compensation Survey included 1,408 treasury and accounting professionals. Participants were grouped into one of three categories: staff, management, and executive.
Researchers found that the average 2022–2023 salary increase across all groups was 5%. Management-level professionals received the largest base salary increase of 5.3%, whereas line-level staff received the lowest increase of 4.8%. Executives fell in the middle with a 5% increase.
Additionally, researchers found that 70% of organizations represented in the survey awarded employee bonuses.
While the survey’s primary purpose was to gather compensation data, it also included questions about talent shortages, job mobility, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Here are some key highlights:
- When asked about the scarce talent pool, nearly 60% of practitioners reported a shortage within the finance and treasury functions
- 59% of organizations represented in the survey had a DEI policy and 9% were working on creating one
- 81% of respondents reported that “increased job responsibility” was the primary criterion for upward mobility
- 10% of respondents categorized their organization’s talent shortage as “significant” and 49% classified it as “moderate”
- 41% of respondents stated that they were not facing a talent shortage
Based on the results of the survey, it is likely that the talent shortage is a major factor that influenced the large increase in base salary. However, other factors were certainly in play, such as changing employee expectations and high inflation.
According to the AFP survey, this is the second consecutive year in which treasury and accounting professionals have received significant raises. Between 2021 and 2022, the average increase across all respondents was 4.4%, with line-level staff receiving the highest increase of 4.5%.
Prior to 2021, the average raise across all segments of treasury and accounting professionals was under 4%. In 2020–2021, accounting and treasury professionals received just a 2.9% salary increase, representing the smallest raise of the last decade. This is not surprising, as most businesses were contending with the global pandemic and major revenue losses.
In the spring of 2021, all industries, including the treasury and accounting professional vertical, were struck by the Great Resignation. As employees left in droves, business leaders began scrambling to find a solution. Part of the response involved offering better salaries as well as other perks, such as hybrid or remote work opportunities, more time off, and better training.
The current salary trends in the accounting and treasury space are likely a continuation of these practices. Employers that are facing talent shortages need to fill key accounting vacancies and are using higher salaries as a way to attract qualified employees. Those that are not experiencing shortages are leveraging better base pay as a tool for retaining top performers.
Will More Major Increases Happen in the Near Future?
While throwing money at the problem is not going to miraculously solve the finance professional talent shortage, it can help businesses fill vacancies and make their organizations more appealing to job seekers. However, continually increasing salaries can also create bidding wars between large organizations.
Moving forward, some businesses will likely continue offering significant base salary increases as part of their employee acquisition and retention strategy. Those that cannot continue to do so will have to attract talent in other ways, such as offering hybrid or remote work or creating an engaging workplace culture.
What These Pay Trends Mean for Your Business
Like any savvy CFO or controller, you likely immediately began considering what implications the AFP Compensation Survey would have for your business.
If your treasury or finance professional pay scale is already competitive, you probably won’t need to make any major changes. However, if you are behind the current trends, these raises could make the gap even wider.
Offering other benefits, such as hybrid work opportunities, is a great way of offsetting disparities in pay. With that being said, you need to make sure your salary offerings are at least similar to those offered by your competitors.
Moving forward, there is no need to attempt to be a trendsetter with salary increases. Instead, cultivate a magnetic workplace culture that financial professionals love to be a part of and offer a balanced mix of perks, including a fair salary.