CFOs, treasurers and their staff continued to earn larger raises than other white-collar workers did in 2009, according to a new survey by the Association for Financial Professionals.

Nevertheless, the recession took its toll on finance workers just as it did on others. The average salary increase for financial professionals in 2009 was a full percentage point below the average increase reported for 2008.

Average annual salaries for financial professionals increased by 2.5 percent in 2009, bringing them more than 13 percent above the national average, but less than the 3.4 percent increase reported for 2008 and 4.5 percent reported for the 2007 calendar years. Bonuses averaged 14.0 percent of financial professionals’ base salaries, slightly below the average bonuses cited in 2008 and 2007 (15.0 percent each year).

Staff-level financial professionals experienced the highest salary growth — an increase of 2.7 percent, on average. In previous AFP surveys, executive or management-level financial professionals earned the largest salary increases. This year, the average increase for executive and management positions garnered the second largest salary increase at 2.5 percent. Support-level financial professionals earned an average salary increase of just below 2 percent.

In calendar year 2009, budget analysts averaged the highest base salary increase within the staff level, an increase of 3.4 percent. Treasurers earned the highest average increase within the executive tier (3.2 percent); assistant cash managers received the highest average salary increase within the management tier (3.8 percent). Across all positions, the assistant cash manager role showed the highest increase.

Financial professionals with advanced degrees received higher compensation than those without. Those with an MBA showed strong salary potential. In 2009, financial professionals with an MBA earned an average salary 24 percent higher than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees earned.

In a year of great technological innovation, financial professionals in the West earned the most, with those in the technology industry at the high end of the spectrum. In prior years, financial professionals in the Eastern U.S. earned the most.

The economy had only a minimal effect on the size of bonuses, but slightly fewer organizations doled them out. In 2009, 71 percent of organizations awarded incentive-based compensation bonuses to financial professionals, down four percentage points from 2008. Financial professionals continued to earn incentive pay at an average of 14 percent of base salary, down one percentage point from the prior year. Executives received about 30 percent of base salary in bonus pay, management about 13 percent, staff about 9 percent and support staff roughly 6 percent.

Despite continuing increases in U.S. health insurance premiums, every organization that participated in the survey offered access to health insurance in 2009 to employees and 96 percent provided dental coverage.

Increased job responsibility was the No. 1 factor in career advancement, cited by 66 percent of organizations. Other factors influencing upward mobility include contribution to profitability (55 percent), holding a professional designation such as the AFP’s Certified Treasury Professional (55 percent) and earning an MBA (31 percent).

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