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Results: Average Tenure of a CFO Survey

Over the past few months, we conducted a survey of hundreds of financial professionals in an effort to determine the average tenure of a CFO in today’s world. Participants were asked:

Length of time in current job – less than 3 years, 3-5 years, 6-9 years, 10+ years

Current titleCFO, Controller, Asst. Controller, Accountant, Other

GenerationMillennial or Generation Y (1980-2000), Generation X (1965-1979), Baby Boomer (1946-1964), Silent Generation (1925-1945)

Average Tenure of a CFO Survey Results

Notable results include:

  • Average tenure = 5.47 years
  • 78% of participants held the title of CFO
  • 93% of participants were from Generation X or Baby Boomers

We also summarized the average tenure by job title and by generation.  As shown in the charts below, CFOs and Assistant Controllers had the longest tenure by job title and length of tenure tended to increase with the age of the respondent.

average tenure of a cfoaverage tenure of a cfo

Thanks so much for all of you who participated!  Leave a comment below to let us know what other issues you’d like us to survey.average tenure of a cfo

 

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Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

See Also:
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants – AICPA
How to Choose An Independent CPA/Auditor
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
The Future of the Accounting Workforce

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Definition

A CPA or certified public accountant is a person in the United States who has passed the uniform certified public accountant examination as well as met all other requirements. Typically accounting careers range from work for public accounting firms who perform audits or tax work for companies, or several others perform their work “in-house” for companies in a certain industry. In addition, these in-house accountants are ultimately responsible for the financial statements that are audited by the public accounting firms. Furthermore, many CPAs join the AICPA or American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This institution provides rulings and discussion on many business practices as well as state societies or organizations for CPAs.

Certified Public Accountant Education Requirements

CPA requirements by state differ on the number of education hours needed to sit for the uniform CPA exam as well as work experience. There is also a requirement that each and every CPA obtain continuing education (CE) after he/she passes the exam. If an accountant were to quit CE after passing the exam, then he/she would fall under the CPA designation “CPA Inactive.” Generally speaking, the certified public accountant requirements are as follows to gain a CPA degree:

1) 150 hours of education including a bachelor’s degree
a) at least 24 hours of accounting-related courses
b) at least 24 hours of business-related courses

2) Passed all 4 Sections of the CPA exam

3) One year of accounting work experience under a CPA

4) Continuing education as required

Note: This is a general summary for most states. However, some states have more/less requirements than the above bullet points.

CPA Exam

The certified public accountancy exams are given in the following sections:

1)Auditing and Attestation

2)Financial Accounting and Reporting

3)Regulation

4)Business Environment and Concepts

Note: A person must score a 75 or higher on the exam to pass. If a section has been failed, then a person is not required to take all the sections again, but just the section that has been failed.

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certified public accountant

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Audit Scope Example

Audit Scope Example

Ely is an auditor for the IRS. His work, some of the most technical for any forensic accountant, involves looking deeply into a company to find errors which may lead to prosecution. By doing this, Ely is preventing the company from any financial foul-ups that could lead to fraudulent information being shared. He is now tasked with finding the reason for recent tax payments.

The company Ely is auditing is a major food processing plant. This food company has had a history in the past of financial record “mistakes,” which explains the reason for the IRS being quick to investigate a discrepancy. This company, paying much less than IRS estimated taxes, may face a penalty. Thus the company sends Ely to see the reason for this discrepancy.

As Ely is working he takes on massive amounts of documents. He will have to sift through countless financial statements, as well as procedural documents in order to draw a conclusion on a large auditing matter. For this project he will have a very deep audit scope: he must find the reason through almost any means necessary. Because federal taxes are taken very seriously in the United States, Ely is given the authority by the IRS to request any documents or evidence that could make his decision making process run more smoothly in a legal way.

Ely Finds Something

As he is working, one of Ely’s assistants finds something; an account which should have more money than it does. With large company’s this is not uncommon because large sums of money must be moved and transferred at a moment’s notice in order to retain balance in the company’s ledgers. However, Ely is not completely convinced that unintentional error is the cause for the discrepancy. Ely scales deeper to find the cause: a company employee has been stealing funds. Though the company itself is proven to be fully compliant their records have been altered by this corrupt worker. Ely is able to help the company recover the funds and see that the employee pays for his crime. Each party is pleased with the audit, except for the employee who caused the problem.

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audit scope example
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See Also:
Audit Scope

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American Institute of Certified Public Accountants – AICPA

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Definition

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is a professional organization for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Furthermore, this organization is based in the United States. The organization dates back to 1887.

The AICPA creates the CPA examination. Then, they grade the CPA examination. In addition, it is also the organization that authored many of the original financial accounting and reporting standards included in GAAP; however, FASB is now responsible for GAAP.

The AICPA’s primary objectives include the following:

  • Advocacy on behalf of members
  • Certification and licensing of new members
  • Promoting public awareness of CPA professionalism
  • Recruiting and educating prospective CPAs
  • Establishing professional standards

If you want to learn more financial leadership skills, then download the free 7 Habits of Highly Effective CFOs. Find out how you can become a more valuable financial leader.

american institute of certified public accountants

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AICPA Website

If you want more information on the AICPA, then go to: AICPA.org.

See Also:
Statement of Financial Accounting Standards – SFAS
Sensitivity Analysis Definition
Standard Chart of Accounts
Problems in Chart of Accounts Design
Future of the Accounting Workforce

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Common Problems in Charts of Account

Accountants are often great at, well, accounting, but tend to get lost in the detail, preferring to count expenses down to the paper clip level instead of focusing on what truly matters for a company’s profitability. Nowhere is that more evident than in the chart of accounts they create. What are some common problems in charts of account? Let’s dive into it below

Common Problems in Charts of Account Design

Here’s a look at the common problems in charts of account and some recommendations for improvement:

Too Many General Ledger Accounts

Often when using QuickBooks or Peachtree accounting software the number of general ledger accounts grow over time. Usually the person entering the data is not a trained accountant. When faced with an accounting entry not specifically described by an existing general ledger account, they will often set up a new account. It is especially easy to do in QuickBooks.

Too Much Detail in Selling General and Administrative Expenses

Similar to the problem mentioned above, often the person maintaining the general ledger is a detail oriented employee. This trait is both a blessing and a curse. The theory goes as follows: If a little detail is good then a lot is better! In order to get more and more detail on the general ledger they set up new general ledger accounts. In the end they are counting paperclips with numerous accounts with less than a thousand dollars charged to them….”

If you want to add more value to your organization, then click here to download the Know Your Economics Worksheet.

Common Problems in Charts of Account

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Common Problems in Charts of Account

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LEARN THE ART OF THE CFO