Money matters: CFOs say bonuses reign as top employee reward

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Despite lean budgets for many businesses today, most financial executives say cash is king in recognizing their teams' hard work.

Forty-six percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Accountemps survey cited bonuses as the most effective way to acknowledge a job well done. Time off came in second at 21 percent.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International and specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals. An independent research firm conducted the survey, which includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of the number of employees within each region.

CFOs were asked",Which of the following do you feel is most effective in rewarding your accounting team after major projects?" Their responses:

  • Bonus: 46% 
  • Time off: 21% 
  • Departmental lunch or social gathering: 15% 
  • Tickets to sporting or entertainment events: 4% 
  • Other: 1% 
  • Do not reward: 12%
  • Don't know/no answer: 1%

"Performance-based bonuses can be a powerful tool for motivating and retaining employees", said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees for Dummies. "For those employees who have taken on added responsibilities as a result of staff cutbacks, offering some form of cash recognition can go a long way in demonstrating these extra efforts are valued."

Messmer acknowledged that bonuses may not be feasible for some firms. "When resources are limited, budget-friendly ways to reward staff, such as extra time off after a major project ends or a department celebration when meeting an important milestone, can help boost spirits and motivate teams."

About Accountemps:

Accountemps has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at Follow Accountemps for workplace news at

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