Compliance Crossroads: How CFOs are Keeping Up With Today's Demands

To hire more full-time staff or offer additional online training? Bring in an outside consultant for a month or increase workloads of existing staff and pay them overtime? 

Increased compliance demands (and how to respond to them) are coming at today's CFOs from many different directions  in the form of new regulations like the Affordable Care Act and more established ones such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Bank Secrecy Act. Regardless of the type of regulatory mandate or industry it impacts, keeping in compliance is challenging but manageable for some, but increasingly challenging for others. 

The research highlights, published in a press release titled One in Five CFOs Say Managing Compliance Initiatives Becoming More Challenging, suggest a number of ways CFOs are addressing the increased difficulty of maintaining compliance with new regulations  from providing more training to bringing in specialized professionals when necessary. The press release is posted below:

One in Five CFOs Say Managing Compliance Initiatives Becoming More Challenging 

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Compliance is a hot topic in finance circles these days, especially for companies struggling to keep up with the regulations, new research suggests. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, one in five (20 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said it’s more challenging to manage their firm’s compliance-related initiatives than it was 12 months ago. Only 9 percent said managing compliance has grown easier.
CFOs challenged by compliance demands say they are providing additional training for their teams (59 percent) and adding to the workloads of existing staff (57 percent). Hiring new full-time staff and bringing on consultants or project professionals were cited by 25 percent and 24 percent of respondents, respectively.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.
CFOs were asked,“In the last 12 months, has it become more or less challenging to manage your firm’s compliance-related initiatives?” Their responses:
Significantly more challenging 6%
Somewhat more challenging 14%
No change 65%
Somewhat less challenging 8%
Significantly less challenging 1%
Don't know/no answer 5%
Total 99% 
*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.


CFOs who said they find compliance-related issues more challenging also were asked,“How have you addressed the increasing difficulty of maintaining compliance with new regulations?” Their responses*:



Provide additional training to existing staff 59%


Increased workloads for existing staff 57%
Hired new full-time staff 25%
Hired consultants or project professionals 24%
Other 1%
*Multiple responses were permitted.


“As regulatory demands grow in complexity, many companies are struggling to keep staff up-to-date on emerging compliance rules,” said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. “Training and continuous learning become crucial in meeting a broad range of mandates, from financial reporting and tax laws to the Affordable Care Act.”



McDonald cautioned, “Although many businesses are looking to current employees to take on additional compliance-related responsibilities, there comes a point when reinforcements are required. Organizations can ensure regulatory requirements are met by bringing in specialized professionals, such as consultants with subject matter expertise not available internally. These experts are available on-demand and can pass along their insights to the entire team and help alleviate the burden on existing staff.”




How is your finance and accounting team keeping up with today's compliance demands? Feel free to weigh in with a comment below. 




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