Corporate Finance

An Overview of Corporate Finance, Including Job Functions, Positions and Salaries

What Is Corporate Finance?

Definition of Corporate Finance: Corporate Finance is the division of a large company that manages and controls financing, cash management, capital structuring and investment decisions. The purpose of corporate finance is to allocate and report on financial resources in a way that maximizes shareholder value.

Corporate Finance Jobs & Hierarchy

Corporate finance may not be as “prestigious” as investment banking, and it doesn’t give you as many exit opportunities…

However, it does offer a stimulating career path where you can still make hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even millions in annual salary and bonuses if you’re at the right company in the right role.

Most corporate finance departments at large companies are similar, with the King (or Queen) of the castle being the Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Reporting to the CFO, you find the following roles: 

  • The Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Manager: Heads the management accounting department and is in charge of reporting on and forecasting the P&L.

  • The Controller: Heads the financial accounting department and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the balance sheet for reporting, investor relations and audit purposes.

  • The Treasurer: Heads up the treasury department, and deals with everything related to cash and cash flow.

Corporate Finance

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Corporate Finance Salaries

Compensation varies widely depending on the size of the company and the size of the P&L, but here’s what you might expect at each level:

FP & A Salaries

  • Entry-Level Analyst: $70K USD base salary
  • Senior FP&A Analyst: $100-130K USD base salary, plus up to 10% bonus
  • FP&A Manager: $200K USD for a smaller P&L (e.g., the German division of a global company)
  • Global FP&A Manager: up to a 7-figure salary in a large organization

Controller Salaries

  • Entry-Level Controller: $40-50K USD for an entry level position on the “traditional” accounting side
  • More senior Controller roles will earn equivalent to FP&A salaries above

Treasury Salaries

  • Entry-Level Analyst: $70K-$90K USD base salary
  • Senior Analyst: $100-170K USD, with a 15% bonus
  • Treasurer: $200K USD at the low end, up to $4MM USD for the most prestigious global roles
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Corporate Finance Courses

Like most well-paid roles with plenty of earning potential, Corporate Finance is a highly-competitive field – especially at the most prestigious firms.

Most employers now expect more from their new hires than just a degree from a good university (although that’s essential).

That’s why many future corporate finance professionals invest in specialized courses and training to help them get noticed, get hired, and get promoted.

Some of the most relevant courses offered by Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street include:

Investment Banking
Commercial Real Estate (CRE)
Corporate Finance
Investment Banking