CFOs Find Operations Experience to be Most Valuable in Current Role, Survey Finds

MENLO PARK, CA -- Financial executives with operations experience may have an on-the-job advantage, according to a new survey. Approximately half (46 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said that aside from accounting know-how, possessing an operations background is most beneficial to their role. Information technology (IT) expertise followed, with 28 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project 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 your opinion, other than knowledge of accounting and finance, which of the following types of experience are most beneficial for CFOs to possess?" Their responses (multiple answers were allowed):

Operations   46%
Information technology      28%
Legal   26%
Sales and marketing   24%
Other/don't know   6%

"CFOs frequently collaborate with senior managers from other departments to make appropriate financial decisions," said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "Exposure to the unique challenges of day-to-day operations provides a solid foundation for understanding how all business units impact the bottom line. In addition, a firm grasp of operations is an asset to CFOs of public companies as they work to comply with the executive certification and internal control reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act."

McDonald added, "Technology experience is critical for CFOs as well, particularly for those who oversee the IT function and evaluate spending on major initiatives."

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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