Senior Financial Executives Feeling Burden of Working Long Hours, New Survey Shows


MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers burning the midnight oil are seeking a little relief.  In a new survey, 36 percent of CFOs said if they could change one thing about their current position, they would work fewer hours.  Less meetings and more forgiving deadlines -- two other time-oriented answers -- were the next most frequently cited responses, at 17 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

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 more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, “If you could change one thing about your current position, what would it be?”  Their responses:

Work fewer hours   36%
Reduce the number of meetings attended   17%
Extend tight deadlines   12%
Improve relationship with boss   7%
Spend less time traveling   4%
Increased salary   3%
Other   7%
Nothing   8%
Don't know/no answer     6%

“CFOs don’t have the luxury of time, yet it clearly ranks as the top priority on their professional wish list,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.  “New demands are adding to their already busy schedules, including accelerated SEC filing deadlines, regulatory compliance requirements and strategies to optimize business growth after a period of economic uncertainty.”

McDonald suggests executives adhere to a number of proven time-management strategies:

  • Delegate judiciously.  Strike a balance between the tasks you feel comfortable assigning and those that require your direct involvement, such as overseeing the preparation of financial reports and, for public companies, certifying financial statements.  Realize you can’t do it all, and be willing to delegate less-pressing projects to trusted team members who can competently assume the responsibility.
  • Conduct an audit of your time.  If your schedule seems to be controlling you, track how you spend an average workday.  Consider how you might rely further on your staff for tasks and activities.  For example, if appropriate, have your assistant respond to standard e-mail requests on your behalf and manage your schedule for daily meetings and conference calls.
  • Evaluate your resources.  Determine if your organization is adequately staffed to meet current business demands.  If you don’t have enough people in the right places, consider arranging for other departments to reallocate staff for mission-critical projects.  Assess whether additional full-time or project employees are needed to manage workloads.

Robert Half Management Resources has locations in major cities throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at





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