Academic Study Finds Women CFOs Are Better Communicators Than Their Male Counterparts

Despite far fewer women than men holding top finance positions, women chief financial officers (CFOs) may be the better choice for the role, according to new research of earnings calls from 2,800 U.S. companies over a 10-year period.

Dr. Suslava

Kate Suslava, an assistant professor of accoutning at Buckneell Univerity in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Julia Klevak, vice presidentat PGIM Quantitative Solutions and Joshua Livnat, a professor emeritus of accounting at New York University, collaborated on the study, which summarized analysis of approximately 105,000 corporate earnings calls from 2009 to 2019.

The authors found that women CFOs are more concise, more conservative in their tone, more straightforward and use more numbers to illustrate their point. Dr. Suslava notes that “women CFOs use what we call ‘careful verbal behavior.’ Women obfuscate less and use more straightforward language. They use less complex language when they talk, so they may be more straightforward.”

Only 11 percent of the CFOs in their sample were women, and they may be more effective communicators on earnings calls because they represent true “stars in the field,” as opposed to the men, according to the study.

Dr. Suslava holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Minsk State Linguistic University in Belarus. She earned an MBA and a Ph.D. n accounting from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The study, “Benefits of Having a Female CFO” may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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