Research Highlights Diverse Needs For Financial Consultants

Survey: Rising Demand for Help With Business Systems, Compliance Initiatives

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 8, 2015 -- Companies are tapping financial consultants for a wide range of projects, with a growing emphasis on business systems, new research reveals. In the Robert Half Management Resources survey, 61 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) whose firms work with consultants said they are likely to bring in project professionals for business systems and performance improvement initiatives, up 13 points from a similar survey two years ago.

While accounting and finance work remains a staple, the research found CFOs are increasingly likely to engage financial consultants in risk, governance and compliance (50 percent, compared to 40 percent in 2013). Executives also anticipate a jump in the need for consultants to assist with finance optimization initiatives.

CFOs whose companies work with consultants were asked, "In which of the following areas is your company likely to bring in financial consultants or project professionals in the next 12 months?" Their responses*:




Business systems and performance improvement



Finance and accounting



Risk, governance and compliance



Finance optimization (e.g., finance remediation)






*Multiple responses permitted

"As business systems evolve and become more complex, companies do not always have the requisite skills in-house," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. "Organizations frequently turn to financial consultants, particularly at the pre- and post-implementation stages, for their subject matter expertise. Their knowledge of different tools can ensure the system is optimized to deliver the financial and business data the company needs."

McDonald added there is good news for firms ramping up their use of project professionals. "Many financial professionals are attracted to consulting, offering companies access to experienced personnel who can step in immediately to support a specific project or staff a senior-level position on an interim basis."

Robert Half Management Resources offers three tips to help companies make the most of their engagements with consultants:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Clearly explain to consultants your goals and expectations. At the same time, talk to full-time staff about their roles and how they will work with the interim professional. Confusion on either side could hinder the success of the initiative.
  2. Integrate consultants quickly. Help project professionals build rapport with their colleagues and acclimate to the workplace culture. The sooner consultants understand how work gets done at your firm, the sooner they will make valuable contributions.
  3. Transfer knowledge. Don't lose key learnings from an initiative. Prior to the end of an engagement, provide a forum for consultants to share best practices with staff.

About the Survey
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies that work with financial consultants.

About Robert Half Management Resources
Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to business leaders and consultants at and on its blog at

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