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Australian financial leaders strong on job satisfaction: Survey

Key survey findings: (Source: Global Insights CFO & Financial Leadership Barometer)
  • 77.8% of Australian financial leaders are generally happy in their position. 
  • 54.4% of financial leaders expect to be in the same position in two years’ time with a larger remit 
  • 58.8% of financial leaders combine administration duties in addition to their financial expertise, followed by IT (55.9%). 
  • 57.8% of Australian financial leaders consider cost optimisation as a top priority over the next 12 months, followed by cash and liquidity management (56.7%). 
Monday, 24 November, 2014: Australia’s financial leaders are happier in their roles than they’ve ever been, with job satisfaction leading the majority of Chief Financial Officers (CFO) to want to remain in their role for the long term. Findings from the Michael Page Global Insights CFO and Financial Leadership Barometer reveal Australian CFOs are more satisfied with remaining in the same position rather than progressing to Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 
As their roles become broader and more strategic, the survey reports that 77.8% of Australia’s financial leaders are generally happy in their position. Increased job satisfaction within the C-suite finance level may be responsible for the decline in finance professionals seeking to progress their career to CEO. 54.4% of survey respondents report that they expect to be in the same position in two years however with a larger remit.
“Once regarded as a stepping stone to CEO, the CFO role is now regarded as a career ambition in its own right,” says Adrian Oldham, Regional Director of Michael Page Australia, Finance and Financial Services. “Since the Global Financial Crisis, the role of CFO has become more business orientated and business partnering than ever before. The modern CFO in an adaptive business spends less time on pure financial control and management and more time on partnering the business through driving strategic review and change, process and structural efficiencies and new revenue generation streams.”
The modern CFO is combining traditional skill sets with new responsibilities, with survey findings suggesting today’s Australian CFO unites in-depth financial expertise with additional capabilities in IT, legal, HR and procurement. Capabilities that are currently within the scope of a CFO’s responsibilities, other than finance, are administration (58.8%), which is down from 70% in 2012, and IT (55.9%) which has increased from 49% in 2012. 
“We are seeing a shift away from the traditional functions of the CFO role as it is becoming more complex,” says Oldham. “The complexity has arisen from the functions of financial management, accounting and control becoming more global and interconnected within multinational businesses and a more business and market focus in international organisations. This positions the modern role of CFO as a stand-alone career ambition for professionals, rather than the conventional C-suite career path goal of CEO.” 
Cost optimisation continues to be a top priority for Australian financial leaders (57.8%) which is slightly down from 64% in 2012. Also important is cash and liquidity management (56.7%) and process optimisation (53.3%). 
The survey, based on responses from nearly 3, 000 financial leaders in 70 countries across the world, polled the views of financial decision makers ranging from chief finance officers and other financial leaders in a range of industries and sectors. 
The responses were independently analysed and, where applicable, comparisons were drawn with findings of the previous survey, in 2012. To view the full report, visit the Michael Page Australia News & Research Centre