MENLO PARK, CA -- Employee healthcare expenses top the list of worries for financial executives today, a new survey shows.  Nearly half (49 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled recently cited the rising cost of insurance and healthcare as one of their three most pressing concerns.  When asked how they are addressing it, more than half (53 percent) of respondents said they are cutting spending in other areas of the company.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “Which of the following are your three biggest concerns as CFO?”  Their responses*:

Rising cost of insurance and healthcare   49%
Cash flow management and debt/equity financing   34%
Staff recruitment, training and retention   23%
Establishing and maintaining internal controls over operations   22%
Managing financial statement preparation and auditor relations   20%
Managing growth   17%
Creating and maintaining a strong technology infrastructure            11%
Mergers and acquisitions   7%

CFOs also were asked, "Which of the following strategies is your company using to adapt to the rising cost of insurance and healthcare?  Their responses*:

Reducing costs in other areas of the company   53%
Increasing employee payments or co-payments   46%
Increasing costs to customers for company’s products/services       34%
Reducing employee benefits offered   24%
Outsourcing business functions   19%
Relocating staff or company operations to a lower-cost state   9%
Other   1%
None   22%
 *Multiple answers were allowed.    

“The list of business concerns among CFOs continues to grow as their roles become more complex,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.  “Financial executives must manage the bottom line amid rising expenses, regularly monitor the business’s cash flow and ensure they have adequate staff to support multiple accounting projects.”

McDonald noted that insurance and healthcare costs are chief among executives’ concerns but that recruitment and retention also are priorities.  “Finding and retaining a skilled workforce is key in any business environment, but today’s job market for accounting professionals is particularly competitive,” he said.

Robert Half Management Resources has more than 100 offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com.



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