CFOs Feel Their Companies are Most Susceptible to Disasters and Information Security Threats, Survey Finds

MENLO PARK, CA -- In a sign of the times, many executives are concerned about their companies’ ability to protect and sustain business operations in the event of a significant disruption. According to a new survey, 37 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they perceive their firms to be most vulnerable in the area of disaster recovery, followed by security of information systems, at 24 percent. When the same executives were asked where they plan to invest the most dollars in 2004 to ensure future business growth, 28 percent said technology enhancement.

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, "“In which one of the following areas do you feel your company is most vulnerable?"” Their responses:


Disaster preparedness/recovery       37%
Security of information systems   24%
Protection of intellectual capital   11%
Detection of accounting fraud   10%
Theft by company employees   2%
Other   3%
None/not vulnerable   11%
Don’t know/no answer     2%


CFOs were also asked, "“In which of the following areas will your company invest most heavily in 2004 to ensure its future growth?" ”Their responses:


Technology enhancement                 28%
Marketing   20%
Facilities expansion   17%
Training   17%
Additional personnel   9%
Acquisitions   3%
Other   2%
None/don’t know     4%


“Potential business disruptions, such as operational failures, network intrusions and e-mail viruses, are top of mind for many executives,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “As a result, CFOs are allocating more funds to technology in 2004, in areas such as systems upgrades and implementations, and business continuity planning. In addition, firms are increasing investment in security within operating systems, across applications and throughout networks.”

McDonald added, “CFOs and chief information officers are collaborating on technology decisions to gain the maximum return on their investment. They are addressing opportunities to enhance their systems’ reliability and efficiency, increase employee productivity and boost profitability.”

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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