Robert Half and FEI Release Third Annual Benchmarking Report

Study Uncovers Greatest Challenges Within Finance; Staffing Best Practices Also Revealed

MENLO PARK, Calif. and MORRISTOWN, N.J., April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Seven in 10 (73 percent) North American financial executives expect increased government regulation to raise the burden of compliance over time, according to a newly released report from Robert Half International and Financial Executives International (FEI). This is just one of the findings in the third annual study, Benchmarking the Finance Function 2012, which provides insight into how public and private firms of all sizes manage their accounting and finance departments.

The study presents benchmarks in six key areas: staffing, accounting operations, financial systems, sourcing, internal controls and compliance. The results are based on a survey of more than 260 FEI members in the United States, Canada and France.

Key Findings 

  • A majority of survey respondents (75 percent of U.S. and 70 percent of Canadian financial executives) expect the burden associated with maintaining compliance to continue to rise over time.
  • Staffing, including the recruitment and retention of skilled financial professionals, was listed by respondents across all locations as one of the top-three challenges facing accounting and finance departments.
  • Sixty-one percent of financial executives in the United States and 65 percent in Canada said they use Excel as their primary budgeting and planning tool.
  • U.S. respondents stated financial managers work a 49-hour week on average, while staff-level employees work 42 hours. Canadian executives reported financial managers work a 46-hour week, compared to 39 hours for staff-level employees.
  • Thirty-seven percent of U.S. executives and 45 percent of Canadian financial leaders surveyed use temporary, interim or contract professionals in their accounting and finance departments.

"Financial managers must adapt their operational best practices and staffing strategies to keep pace with the increasing complexity of the finance function," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "The benchmarking data in this report shows how companies are structuring their finance departments to achieve optimal productivity."

"As global markets show signs of recovery, businesses are now positioning themselves for growth, and the finance function is an essential component in measuring and managing expansion," said Marie N. Hollein, president and CEO of FEI. "This report allows accounting and finance leaders to easily compare their own operations with those of peer organizations to gain insights into practices that can help improve performance."

Robert Half conducted a webinar based on the findings of Benchmarking the Finance Function 2012. For more information or to access the free webinar archive, visit http://bit.ly/benchmarkwebinar.

About the Survey
Benchmarking the Finance Function examines the results of a survey of staffing, compliance, internal controls and other practices within the finance function. The research was conducted by Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF). Results and analysis in the report are based on data collected using a 50-question online survey of more than 260 FEI members from both public and private companies within the United States, Canada and France. The survey was conducted throughout September and October 2011. To download the report, visit www.roberthalf.us/benchmarking.

About Financial Executives International
FEI is the leading advocate for the views of corporate financial management. Its 15,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry. FEI enhances member professional development through peer networking, career management services, conferences, teleconferences and publications. Members participate in the activities of 86 chapters, 74 in the U.S., 11 in Canada and one in Japan. FEI is headquartered in Morristown, N.J., with additional offices in Washington, D.C., and Toronto. Visit www.financialexecutives.org for more information.

About Financial Executives Research Foundation
FERF is the nonprofit 501(c)(3) research affiliate of FEI. FERF researchers identify key financial issues and develop impartial, timely research reports for FEI members and nonmembers alike in a variety of publication formats. The foundation relies primarily on voluntary tax-deductible contributions from corporations and individuals. For more information, visit www.ferf.org.

About Robert Half International
Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm and has more than 350 staffing locations worldwide. The company's financial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. For more information about the specialized staffing and recruitment divisions of Robert Half, visit www.roberthalf.com.

SOURCE Robert Half International Inc.; Financial Executives International


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