Survey: Finance executives would delegate administrative duties first

If financial executives could get one thing off their plates, it would be administrative tasks, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Management Resources.

More than one-third (38 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said that if they could eliminate one responsibility, it would be basic clerical and administrative work.
 
“Today’s need to do more with less extends to all levels of the organization,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, said of the survey results.
 
“At small and mid-size companies, in particular, this often means financial executives have had to take on tasks once handled by others," McDonald said. "The demands of the current economic environment make it even more essential for senior-level managers to use their time wisely.”
 
CFOs were asked, “If there was one responsibility you could hand off from your job, what would it be?”
  • Basic clerical/administrative - 38%
  • Accounting-related - 19%
  • Human resources-related - 14%
  • Managing - 7%
  • Operations-related - 3%
  • Interactions with vendors - 1%
  • Nothing - 8%
  • Other - 10%
 
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 795 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
 
Robert Half Management Resources offers executives six tips for maximizing their time:
  1. Set realistic expectations. High standards are a must, but setting impractical goals can cause frustration and waste valuable time. When initiating a project, consider what you would like to achieve if resources and time were unlimited. Then determine what can reasonably be accomplished considering available resources and other priorities.
  2. Don’t procrastinate. It’s tempting to postpone less challenging assignments for more exciting initiatives, but it can backfire if projects start to stack up. Procrastination strains working relationships and creates unnecessary stress as everyone strives to catch up.
  3. Delegate. Distribute more routine tasks to other staff members. Look for opportunities that allow your top performers to gain visibility and build their expertise and decision-making skills.
  4. Keep meetings on track. Distribute a detailed agenda prior to the discussion so everyone is prepared. Meetings should begin and end on time. If information can be easily covered in e-mail or phone, a meeting might not be warranted.
  5. Bring in help. If you and your team are overloaded, consider bringing in outside support during peak activity periods or for large-scale initiatives that are finite in nature.
  6. Recharge. Financial executives are accustomed to long hours and demanding work, but that doesn’t mean they should sacrifice breaks and vacation. Scheduling time for even a short respite can restore energy and a sense of control.
 
About Robert Half Management Resources:
Robert Half Management Resources is a provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 145 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.
 
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