AAFCPAs’ 2017 CFO Survey Report

The role of the senior financial executive continually evolves, and today is richly diverse and increasingly impactful on organizational excellence.

Behind Every Thriving Organization is a High-Functioning CFO

AAFCPAs, in collaboration with The Boston Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI-Boston), conducted a survey of over 250 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in an effort to capture what issues are currently ‘top of mind’ for senior financial executives in the Northeast region of the United States. We asked CFOs to provide their thoughts, opinions, and experiences in an effort to glean insight into how the role may be evolving, and why. Download Report >>

We Ask CFOs “Are your greatest challenges changing?”

The role of the CFO continues to become increasingly complex and strategic, and as the role evolves, so do the expectations of the CEO. Although the CFO/CEO relationship is generally strong, 60% of respondents reported moderate to high levels of difficulty in meeting the expectations of executive leadership.

Key Findings

  • Success in the position is still closely tied to the relationship with the CEO/executive leadership.
  • There are growing expectations from diverse organizational constituencies.
  • CFOs are having more of an impact across departmental lines.
  • CFOs currently struggle the most with human resource issues, combined with challenges in accessing meaningful data, on-demand.


“Sophisticated CFOs will continue to be propelled forward by the rapid pace of change in business, and must seize opportunities presented by factors such as: big data, advanced & emerging technology, and globalization.”

Primary Challenges in CFOs Meeting CEO Expectations

Who Were the CFO Respondents?

Survey respondents included: Chief Financial Officers, Chief Accounting Officers, Controllers, Treasurers, Vice Presidents of Finance, Vice Presidents of Planning and Analysis, Vice Presidents of Tax, Vice Presidents of Pension Fund Investments, Vice Presidents of Risk Management, Directors of Finance, Taxes, Treasury, Accounting, and Audit Committee members. Of the respondents, nearly 70% have more than a decade of experience at the Director level or above. 75% represent middle market companies in New England, from public and private sector commercial business, nonprofit, government, healthcare, and education.