The Well-Traveled Accountant - The Value of International Experience

Accepting that transfer to your company’s Paris office could have far-reaching career benefits, according to a recent survey.

Fifty-six percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) polled said international experience will be at least somewhat necessary for accounting and finance professionals five years from now. One in five people surveyed said it would be very necessary.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International Inc. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees. The research is part of the firm’s Next Generation Accountant project, which examines how today’s trends will shape the future of the accounting and finance professions.

CFOs were asked: How necessary do you feel international experience will be for accounting and finance professionals five years from now?"

Their responses:

Very necessary – 20%
Somewhat necessary – 36%
Somewhat unnecessary - 20%
Very unnecessary – 19%
Don't know/no answer - 5%

"A growing number of businesses are expanding internationally to reach new markets and better serve the needs of clients with global operations," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc. "As a result, accounting and finance professionals who are bilingual and have experience in foreign tax law, as well as international trade regulations and reporting procedures are highly marketable."

Messmer added, "The next generation of accountants should assume they’ll be communicating with colleagues around the world to analyze financial data and develop business strategies."

More information on the Next Generation Accountant research project is available online at The Next Generation Accountant Web site. The site includes complete survey findings, audio and video clips of interviews with leading accounting experts, an accounting skills quiz, and a career center.

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