benchmarking - Robert Half

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2017

BENCHMARKING THE ACCOUNTING & FINANCE FUNCTION

TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 Executive Summary 6 Workforce Management 19 Accounting Operations 27 Financial Systems 34 Outsourcing 38 Internal Controls and Compliance 45 Putting the Data to Work 46 Acknowledgments 47 Research Methodology and Respondent Demographics 52 About the Authors 53 About Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation

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Executive Summary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Workforce Management

Accounting Operations

Financial Systems

Outsourcing

Internal Controls and Compliance

Putting the Data to Work

Acknowledgments

Research Methodology and Respondent Demographics

Accounting and finance leaders are under constant pressure to manage a growing portfolio of demands. But how do they, or can they, measure success? Many internal key performance indicators can be used to gauge progress in various areas. But at some point, leaders can also benefit from asking the simple question, “How are other companies doing this?” No matter how well your department feels it manages its operations, no organization can — or should — exist in a vacuum. That’s why Robert Half has teamed with Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) to produce Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function 2017. The report, now in its eighth year, is based on survey responses from more than 1,400 financial leaders at public and private organizations in the United States and Canada. It also includes insights from followup interviews with select financial executives.

we found many accounting and finance organizations are still facing the same challenges — especially around recruiting and retaining skilled talent for their teams. As a result, we are once again beginning with a discussion of workforce management trends. We then report on how companies and their finance leaders are handling the everyday operations of the accounting and finance function. Topic areas include trends in outsourcing, cloud technology adoption, automation and the burden of compliance demands. In addition, we’ve highlighted comparisons between the new data and previous years’ data and noted any trends or significant differences.

About the Authors

About Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation

In our previous report, the theme centered on resources: how to secure and keep the employees, processes and technology you need now and in the future. This year,

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Executive Summary

Report Highlights

Workforce Management

We present our key findings in each section of the report. Of these, we’d like to highlight several we found particularly interesting:

Accounting Operations

Financial Systems

Outsourcing

Internal Controls and Compliance

Putting the Data to Work

Acknowledgments

Research Methodology and Respondent Demographics

About the Authors

About Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation

• Sixty-two percent of the largest organizations in our survey (those with more than US$5 billion in revenue) report that their accounting and finance teams are at least somewhat understaffed.

• The finance function — and, in many cases, its certifying officers who must sign the internal control report — is the most likely organizational component to have primary responsibility for the overall effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. However, at the largest companies, there appears to be a shift away from certifying officers and toward the audit committee.

• For the first time in four years, the percentage of staff resources devoted to general accounting is unchanged. From 2014 to 2016, we observed a significant decline in this percentage, from 23 percent to