The survey was developed by RHI Management Resources, from responses from 1,400 CFOs across the nation.
Below is a summary of the findings of this survey:
- The vigorous growth of independent financial consulting as a career will continue as businesses rely on these professionals to introduce new concepts, provide expert advice, solve problems and conduct financial analysis and strategic planning.
- As the workforce becomes more entrepreneurial and mobile, an increasing number of accounting and finance professionals will elect to work for themselves, rather than one corporation. More young people will go into consulting because of the variety, fast pace and challenge that it offers. Retired professionals will return to work as consultants.
- Hot specialties for consultants will include: supply chain management and business-to-business integration; resource planning; staff training and mentoring; financial systems conversions; reengineering and e-commerce (from advising on the business implications of a web initiative to testing for security, disclosure, integrity and delivery on all of the site's promises).
- Consultants will be called upon to serve their clients as mentors, strategists and acting or interim CFOs.
- Advanced degrees and certifications - MBA, CPA, CMC (Certified Management Consultant) and CPM (Certified Project Manager) - will be increasingly important for consultants.
CFOs were asked, "For which of the following functions is your company most likely to bring in consulting or project professionals to supplement workloads or gain specialized expertise?" Their responses:
Accounting or tax services - 31%
Financial systems consulting - 15%
Business process improvement - 14%
E-commerce solutions - 12%
Merger or acquisition - 9%
Other - 3%
None/no need for consultant - 6%
Don't know/no answer - 10%
Note: All research was provided and conducted by Robert Half International Inc. unless otherwise noted. You may obtain a free copy of the research guide associated with this report from RHI.