CFO Salaries in Southern California:  What do CFOs make in 2022?

March 28, 2022 ROARK

Attracting and retaining top finance and accounting talent is more important than ever, especially considering the great resignation. Today, we’d love to talk about CFO salaries in 2022 in the Southern California area.

Salaries vary by Southern California region.

The Southern California area makes up four major regions. The first is Inland Empire including Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Then we have Orange County on the ocean, LA just to the north, and in the southern region is San Diego County as well. You

Salary by Performance level

When we talk about compensation, it's really important for us to understand the four buckets that we classify professionals into understanding performance and skills.

Limited Performers

This is going to be on the lower end of salary ranges. This is someone who's either recently moved up to a position and has limited skills or experience in that position or someone that may be a longer-term player that's more of a B-level type of player or hit kind of the peak of where they're going to be at professionally.

Strong Performers

This is going to be the B+ / A- level player. They're going to be able to go in and be able to do a good job. They may have some limitations on some of the sophistication or some of the latest trends in the industry. But they're going to do a great job in going in and helping you out.

Star Performers

Now, if you want the person that's going to knock your socks off, that is going to be the star performer. These are the A / A+ level players within a given segment. They're doing an amazing job. They've got great technical skills, soft skills, and they're able to combine both of those together. The star performers are really what we want at our organization, ROARK.

Elite Performers

Finally, we have the elite professionals, those are going to be the ones that are going to be at the top of their game. They're the One Percenters in compensation, typically in very large or publicly traded companies and they get paid the top dollar for the skills they bring to the table.

Other considerations in compensation

When you look at compensation, there's both art and science to compensation. So whenever you look at a salary guide, it is just that - it's a guide. It's not an absolute. There are key considerations that you're going to want to look at whenever you're looking at compensation.

And this is where we suggest that you reach out to an expert.

Common considerations:

Ownership Type - It’s important to understand compensation at privately held companies, PE-backed companies, Venture-backed companies, and publicly held companies. These are all different as far as what the requirements are for the position and the skill sets that are needed.

Company size - Smaller companies tend to be less sophisticated as opposed to larger companies. As you move into a smaller company, you can rely more on your personal skills. And whenever you're in a larger company, you really have to design processes and controls and be able to manage at that level.

Location - Cost of living plays different factors.

Industries - Certain industries will pay more for their accounting and finance talent as opposed to others, and then the required skills.

Specializations - If you're looking for super technical skills like SEC filings, or mergers and acquisitions, those are going to command more money cause they're more specialized skills in the industry.

Education and certifications - If you're looking for somebody with an MBA, CPA, or other certifications like CEPA. Those are going to naturally demand more money as they are usually, typically bring talents and experiences along with that.

Years of experience – This can be a variable as well in compensation

Inflation and compensation

What we're seeing even more than ever recently is inflation. There are strong inflationary pressures in these positions. The professionals that you were paying “X” two, three years ago are going to earn “Y or Z” either today or shortly in the future.

We believe there's a lot of pent-up demand left in inflation, where we're going to see salaries and wages continuing to increase for finance and accounting dramatically in the next few years.

CFO Salaries in the Inland Empire in 2022

For CFOs in the Inland Empire, with limited performers, we're looking at $175,000 a year.

Strong performers move up to $200,000 a year.

Star CFO performers are around $250,000 a year in the Inland Empire.

And then our elite, which are in very large companies, publicly-traded companies, can go up to $500,000 a year.

2022 Chief Financial Officer Salaries in Orange County

When we talk about the CFOs in the Orange County region, we look at the limited performer CFO first. Your entry-level point is really around $200,000 a year as far as compensation goes.

Strong performer CFOs move up to $250,000 annually.

And your star performing CFOs or your A and A+ players are commanding $325,000 a year.

Elite CFOs in large companies, the top 1% earners, are seeing $600,000 per year in salary alone. 

CFO Salaries in 2022 in Los Angeles County

When we talk about CFOs in the Los Angeles County area. You're starting CFO, which is your limited performing CFO is around $200,000 a year in compensation.

Strong performing CFOs, are typically starting around $275,000 a year.

Our star performers, or A players, move up to $350,000 annually.

And our elite performers, which again are the best of the best, most highly compensated CFOs, and very rare, are making around $600,000 a year.

CFO Salaries in San Diego County in 2022

When we look at CFOs in the San Diego county area, our starting CFO, which is our limited performer is around $175,000 a year.

We then move up to our strong performers, which start at $250,000 a year.

And your A and A+ players who your star performers around $325,000 a year.

Again, your elite players, which are kind of the top of the industry and some of the highest compensated professionals are making $575,000 a year in the San Diego area.


2022 Finance or Accounting Salaries in Southern California

If you're looking for more information on finance positions, from a VP of Finance to a Financial Analyst, download our 2022 total compensation guide which includes salaries, time off, bonus compensation, benefits/perks, and even equity compensation information in our 2022 Total Compensation Guide for finance and accounting positions in Southern California.

ROARK - Total Compensation Guide


If you need help finding a great CFO or other important finance or accounting professional, consider ROARK executive search.

To learn more or to discuss a position you need to fill, schedule a consultation.


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