Survey Suggests Financial Executives May Become Tech Gurus in Coming Years


MENLO PARK, CA -- In the future, technology projects will consume an even greater portion of a financial executive's day, suggests a new survey. When asked in which area their role will change most over the next five years, 39 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they would be playing an expanded role in information systems initiatives. Strategic planning followed, with 26 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by RHI Management Resources, North America's largest consulting firm providing 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 companies with more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, "In which of the following areas do you foresee the role of CFO changing the most over the next five years?" Their responses:

Greater role in technology and information systems initiatives 39%
More strategic planning and decision-making 26%
Increased interaction with other departments 16%
Expanded leadership and management role 14%
Other/don't know 5%

"Increasingly, CFOs need to possess a solid understanding of information systems, particularly as they become involved in enterprise-wide application development and e-business initiatives," said Paul McDonald, executive director of RHI Management Resources. "In particular, finance executives are playing an integral role in the evaluation and implementation of Internet-based financial applications that link front- and back-office systems to the web."

McDonald noted that in addition to technology, a growing number of CFOs are delegating more of their day-to-day responsibilities to assume greater roles in strategic planning, investor relations, operations and revenue enhancement initiatives -- a trend reflected in the survey results.

"Regardless of seniority, accounting and finance professionals who continually update their technical skills are well positioned to advance quickly," McDonald added. "Taking online courses or becoming involved in cross-functional projects with the IT department can be invaluable in gaining firsthand knowledge of a company's information systems initiatives."

RHI Management Resources has locations in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services atwww.rhimr.com.



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