Companies should consider “return on compensation” when determining CFO pay

March 22, 2012
Companies should consider “return on compensation” when determining CFO pay

As tempting as it may be for company decision makers to throw an exorbitant compensation package toward executive candidates, these businesses may need to temper their expectations and first consider average executive compensation rates.

A study by an executive compensation consultant recently determined that executive compensation increased slightly in 2011, led by a 9 percent increase in long-term incentives. Meanwhile, base salaries only increased 3 percent and bonuses remained relatively unchanged.

The study could have significant ramifications for companies that are about to start searching for great CFOs and other senior executives, but are unsure of how to pay these business leaders for their services.

When determining how much to pay their executives, along with the type of compensation, business decision makers should consider the return on compensation (ROC) of their executives and always ensure that they are being paid a competitive compensation package.

“An organization’s compensation expense is an investment in talent, which requires a return, just like any other investment,” according to “Even though ROC is harder to measure than the return on traditional capital investments, prioritized investments in talent produce better returns than homogeneous or entitlement approaches.”

An executive whose compensation is tied closely to company performance, especially over an extended period of time, has a robust incentive to ensure that his or her long-term vision is formulated properly. Organizational stability, especially among those who hold senior executive positions, can be the difference between a company thriving by building on its prior successes and failing to emerge as an industry leader.

In order to fill executive jobs, particularly senior jobs in finance, businesses should find an organization that has financial professional search experience. These corporate recruiters can help businesses find senior executives and advise them as to proper compensation practices needed to attract and retain these business leaders.

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