Accounting For Talent

                            Accounting For Talent

Survey: Majority of CFOs Cite Challenges in Finding Skilled Financial

PR Newswire

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 7, 2013

MENLOPARK, Calif., Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The outlook for professionals
such as financial analysts and senior accountants is increasingly bright, and
talent shortages are leading to higher salaries for in-demand specialties, new
research from Robert Half International shows. Nearly three in five (59
percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for a Robert Half survey
said it is at least somewhat challenging to find skilled financial
professionals today.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world's first and largest
specialized staffing firm. It was conducted by an independent research firm
and is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random
sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "How challenging is it for your company to find skilled
financial professionals today?"  Their responses:

    Very challenging      5%
    Somewhat challenging  54%
    Not challenging       37%
    Don't know/no answer  4%

"Companies are looking for financial staff who can manage fundamental
accounting needs, prepare their organizations for growth and ensure they are
in compliance with regulatory requirements," said Paul McDonald, Robert Half
senior executive director. "However, hiring accounting and finance
professionals has become increasingly competitive. The unemployment rates for
many financial positions remain below the national average, resulting in
candidate shortages in some specialties."

Following are key accounting and finance positions experiencing particularly
strong demand, according to the 2013 Salary Guide from Robert Half:

  oFinancial analysts: Companies are looking for analysts -- especially those
    who are certified public accountants (CPAs) or possess a master's degree
    in business administration -- who can use the organization's financial
    data to make business recommendations. For the fourth quarter of 2012, the
    unemployment rate for financial analysts was 1.9 percent, according to the
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  oBusiness systems analysts: Professionals who combine finance and
    information technology (IT) expertise, are sought to optimize financial
    systems, support enterprise resource planning projects and help their
    organizations make better-informed decisions. According to Robert Half's
    Salary Guide, business analysis managers at large companies (more than
    $250 million in sales) are expected to see a jump in starting salaries of
    4.4 percent in 2013, compared to a 3.3 percent average increase for all
    financial positions.
  oSenior accountants: Companies are looking for accountants, especially
    CPAs, to maintain the general ledger, compile financial reports, and
    oversee accounts receivable and payable. In addition to functional
    expertise, firms seek candidates with excellent communication and
    problem-solving abilities.
  oInternal auditors: These professionals help evaluate the effectiveness of
    financial and information systems, internal controls, and management and
    operational practices. Demand remains strong for these specialists; the
    unemployment rate for accountants and auditors was 4.6 percent in the
    fourth quarter of 2012.
  oIT auditors: Professionals in  this fast-growing specialization understand
    the relationship between IT audit procedures, business process controls
    and risks. Salaries for IT auditor positions at all levels are expected to
    see above-average increases in 2013.
  oCost accountants: Professionals who can merge cost accounting with
    financial planning and analysis skills, particularly in a manufacturing
    context, are in demand to help companies minimize costs.
  oCompliance officers: Given the evolving regulatory environment, companies
    are seeking specialists to oversee compliance initiatives and report their
    findings to management. The profession had a 3.8 percent unemployment rate
    in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  oControllers: Controllers are needed to plan, direct and coordinate
    activities such as compiling financial statements, working with external
    auditors and overseeing regulatory reporting.  According to the Salary
    Guide, starting salaries for assistant controllers at companies with up to
    $50 million in sales are expected to rise 4.5 percent, the highest
    percentage of any accounting or finance position. Controllers at all
    levels are projected to see gains in base pay above the national

"To identify highly skilled candidates, organizations need to conduct targeted
searches that include tapping their contacts for referrals, networking with
industry associations and working with a specialized financial recruiter,"
McDonald added. "Companies also should look within their ranks to develop the
skills they need by offering training and mentoring opportunities to their
internal teams."

About the Survey

The national study was developed by Robert Half. It was conducted by an
independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews
with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies
from all segments are represented, the sample was stratified by geographic
region and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the
proper proportion of employees within each region.

About Robert Half International

Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is the world's first and largest
specialized staffing firm. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has more than
350 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its
divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at
Follow Robert Half on Twitter at, and gain insights on
the latest financial hiring and salary trends at

SOURCE Robert Half International

Contact: Michael Weiss, (650) 234-6383,
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