Report: CFO Tenure Shrinks as Responsibilities Grow

CFO, chief financial officer, responsibilities, executive

Corporate CFOs are spending less time in their jobs as responsibilities move beyond finance.

It’s a trend that’s due to a change in corporate structure, but also because of an evolution of the job of chief financial officer beyond the “bean counter” role, CNBC reported Tuesday (Feb. 28), citing a pair of surveys.

“What we’re seeing more now is that the pressures and responsibilities of the CFO have become more and more, and they’ve really become a key part of that C-suite decision-making party,” Gina Gutzeit, whose FTI Consulting conducted one of the surveys, told CNBC. “I think that responsibility has become sort of a catalyst where if they don’t like the direction of the company or they don’t see eye-to-eye with the CEO, that might lead to turnover.”

A little fewer than 60% of North American financial executives said the average tenure of a CFO is under five years. For executives in virtually every other part of the world, the numbers were higher, per the report. However, last year showed a significantly lower share of executives — 48% — cited the five-year figure.

Meanwhile, a separate survey found that average CFO tenure has declined from 5.3 years a decade ago to five years in 2022, according to the report.

CFOs have a lot on their plates, according to PYMNTS research. Almost all the finance chiefs surveyed by PYMNTS — more than 90% — said they expect a global recession within the next year, leading them to invest in improved digital payments infrastructure.

For example, the finance chiefs at 81% of retailers, 78% of manufacturers and 77% of finance and insurance companies surveyed said economic uncertainty is a key to investing in procurement, while just 67% of healthcare companies said the same.

In addition, at least three in five CFOs told PYMNTS that their investments in digital payment processes have led to better business operations.

The research found that 80% of manufacturing CFOs, 71% of retail CFOs and 73% of finance and insurance CFOs said their working capital and credit systems improved after they invested in digital payments technology.

There’s also likely to be a surge in procurement investments, the research found, with 45% of healthcare companies, 38% of finance and insurance businesses, 53% of retailers and 44% of manufacturers saying they have plans to invest in this area.

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