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Feb 06

CFOs lukewarm about adding to staff

Posted by Stephen Taub in Robert HalfFinanceCareers/Managementaccounting and finance jobsaccountants

Stephen Taub

Chief financial officers are an optimistic group these days.

While a slew of recent economic indicators seem to point to a slower growing economy, 90 percent of the finance executives are confident about their companies third quarter growth, according to the latest quarterly survey by Robert Half. What's more, 43 percent say they are very confident.

However, this optimism probably won't result in a surge in hiring of accounting and finance workers. Just 7 percent of CFOs indicated they plan to add full-time employees, while 6 percent expect staff reductions.

However, the resulting net 1 percent increase is up one point from the second-quarter forecast.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States who are asked whether their companies plan to increase or decrease the number of full-time accounting or financial personnel on their staff during the coming quarter.

Interestingly, Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half reports that employers face competition for skilled finance professionals. For some in-demand positions, such as financial analysts and senior accountants, a shortage of skilled candidates has developed, he adds.

In any case, the South Atlantic and West South Central regions are projected to see the most active hiring in the third quarter, with a net 6 percent of CFOs in each location expecting to add full-time personnel. In the South Atlantic states, 10 percent of executives plan to hire and 4 percent project the size of their staff to decline. In the West South Central United States, 9 percent of CFOs anticipate adding employees and 3 percent foresee personnel reductions.

"Companies in the South Atlantic region that had heavily downsized their accounting and finance functions are now looking for staff accountants, senior accountants and financial analysts," Messmer noted.

In the West South Central states, CFOs in the energy and manufacturing sectors, in particular, have a need for controllers, assistant controllers and financial analysts, he added.

Nationally, CFOs in the wholesale sector are most optimistic about their hiring plans for the third quarter, with a net 9 percent of financial executives anticipating personnel increases. Eleven percent plan to expand their teams and 2 percent expect to reduce staff levels.

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