CFOs More Likely to Outsource Accounting and Finance Projects

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By Jason Bramwell, Staff Writer

Areas of general accounting and finance – including forecasts and budgets, financial reporting, and mergers and acquisitions – were cited by more than half of CFOs as projects they would likely outsource to financial consultants and interim managers in the next twelve months, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Management Resources.

Based on interviews with more than 900 CFOs from a random sample of companies that work with financial consultants, the survey asked financial executives what areas of their businesses would they use financial consultants or project professionals within the next year.

According to results of the survey, 57 percent of respondents said finance and accounting, followed by 48 percent who noted business systems and performance improvement, and 42 percent who reported taxation. Other areas receiving consideration were risk, governance, and compliance (40 percent) and finance optimization (36 percent).

Paul McDonald, senior executive director with Robert Half, said CFOs are using consultants for such projects as finance optimization and process improvement, among others.

“Interim managers are also being brought in for business systems and compliance initiatives as financial executives look to leverage data stored in their enterprise applications and keep pace with evolving regulations,” he said in a written statement. “Whether a company is looking to merge operations from a business acquisition or implement an enterprise resource planning system, financial consultants can fill the gap by managing a project from start to finish or serving in an interim capacity.”

McDonald also commented on another recent Robert Half survey, in which 17 percent of CFOs at more than 700 firms that offer year-end bonuses said their bonus levels in 2013 will be higher over last year, compared to just 7 percent of respondents who expect a decline. Sixty-seven percent of financial executives expected no changes.

“Bonuses can be a valuable way to acknowledge employees’ work and help retain valued staff members, many of whom have seen their roles expand in recent years without a commensurate spike in salary,” McDonald said. “Firms that don’t offer bonuses – or plan to scale them back – may find other ways to reward their teams, such as training opportunities or staff celebrations. These nonmonetary perks show staff members they’re valued and their contributions are appreciated by the organization.”

Miami is the city with the largest percentage of CFOs who expected to pay higher year-end bonuses, at 28 percent, while 26 percent of CFOs in New York City and Seattle responded they will increase year-end bonuses this year.

About the surveys:
The survey pertaining to outsourcing projects was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of senior-level finance, accounting, and business systems professionals on a product and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 900 CFOs from a random sample of companies that work with financial consultants.

The survey on bonuses was developed by Robert Half, a specialized staffing firm, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on interviews with more than 700 CFOs from organizations that offer year-end bonuses to employees. Respondents were from a random sample of companies in more than twenty of the largest US markets.

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This is all of the stuff I really enjoy doing: finance and accounting & business systems and performance improvement

Outsourcing is simply the best option for routine, day to day finance and accounting processes as well as for special projects. There is no reason why outsourcing shouldn't end up becoming the "default" option, as it already is for payroll, IT, and other functions that are not an organization's core competency.

Check out www.virtual-lucidity.com for more on the value proposition.

The best financial function to outsource is "billing and collections". Contracting this function and staff to a competitive, trusted third party payer, like BCBS, the provider organization can be paid a guaranteed, single monthly check based on a collaborative budget to achieve a long range strategic plan designed to move toward Baskin's three part goal: improved quality and accessibility and lower expenditures. This arrangement is like a dream come true for the provider organization: no more worry about deficits, no more collection costs, no more dealing with patients or third party payers about utilization issues, close collaboration with a third party payer which better understands how to shift from quantity goals to quality goals, from exclusive patient goals to population goals. For he contracting third party payer, much lower collection costs and a vital function in the future as health insurance become universal. Of course many details must be worked out and built into the contract between the two contracting parties. For example, a fund needs to be created to cover the third party payer when actual net income is less than budgeted and to provide the provider organization with capital funds when net income exceeds the budgeted amount. For more details, call me at 215-561-5730.