Benchmarking the Accounting and Finance Function


Digital transformation in today’s workplace

Digital transformation continues at warp speed in the world of accounting and finance. Data analytics, cloud-based computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) are altering staffing needs and the way things get done.

Download the report to see how other leaders like you are leveraging digital technology and automation across all levels of accounting and finance. You’ll discover:

  • How companies are automating processes such as forecasting and predictive reporting
  • What the rapid adoption of cloud-based computing could mean to you
  • How digital transformation is driving demand for skills in finance organizations, including data analytics and enterprise resource planning (ERP) experience
  • Why automating routine tasks can free your staff for higher-value work
  • How advances in analytics, the internet of things (IoT), and AI are creating new business models, driving innovation and increasing competitive advantage

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See how your staffing levels compare


Use the Workforce Planning Tool to see how your organization compares to others in your industry in terms of team size and staffing ratios.

Answer just a few questions to see how your accounting, accounting operations, finance, and internal audit staffing compares with others.

How does your staffing stack up? preview

Insight you can bank on

Together with Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), our ninth annual Benchmarking Accounting and Finance Functions report, based on a survey of more than 1,700 financial executives in the U.S. and Canada, looks at trends in:

  • Automation, financial systems and digital transformation
  • Workforce management
  • Accounting operations
  • Internal controls and compliance

Why benchmark your accounting and finance functions?

Learning how other accounting and finance departments — within your industry and elsewhere — are using human, financial and, increasingly, technological resources prevents you from inadvertently working in a vacuum. Get background information to help see how your team size, team structure and staffing ratios stack up against other organizations.

Discover what issues and challenges lie ahead and see how your peers are adapting their practices and staff structures to meet current business demands.

Technology in the driver’s seat

Recruiting and retention remain a concern for many executives, and this year’s report shows how digital transformation is increasingly top of mind when making staffing plans. It’s hard to underestimate its effect as it creates new business models, boosts innovation and revenue, and in some cases, disrupts entire markets and industries.

Automation on the march

In recent years, we’ve seen finance organizations of all sizes embrace automation for labor-intensive or routine processes such as invoicing, data collection and report generation, as well as for documentation and compliance.

Keeping a human touch in the mix

While many firms also expect to automate processes such as financial planning and forecasting in the future, others said they don’t plan to automate processes that require strategic judgment, such as financial decision making and project management. We found that 26 percent of firms with an annual gross revenue of $499 million or less and 35 percent of those making $500 million or more said they won’t automate financial decision making.

Workforce in both size and scope

Digital transformation is prompting organizations to expand their accounting and finance teams’ capabilities with an increasing focus not only on data analytics but also nontechnical abilities such as communication and presentation skills. Relative to digitalization, finance leaders seek:

  • Experience with data analytics (19 percent)
  • Experience with ERP systems (22 percent)
  • Strong communication skills (20 percent)
  • Creativity (12 percent)

Digital transformation aids in recruiting and retention, too, by freeing accounting and finance employees to engage in work they find more interesting and meaningful as they build new skills.

Increasing use of interim professionals

Whether or not they’re expanding due to digital transformation, organizations of all sizes report increasing their use of temporary or project professionals — from staffing for everyday tasks to leveraging highly specialized consultants for systems architecture or data analytics.

  • In the U.S., 33 percent of respondents report using interim staff, up from 28 percent in 2017.
  • 41 percent of Canadian respondents said their firms rely on project professionals, up 9 points from 2017.
  • Firms most commonly report using interim staff for accounts payable, accounts receivable and general accounting.

Easing the burden of compliance

Most U.S. and Canadian financial executives see the cost of compliance requirements remaining steady this year. But at the same time, roughly one-third of executives in both countries say they are experiencing rising costs.

As we predicted in our 2017 benchmarking report, technology tools are becoming more essential to most accounting and finance teams as they try to keep pace with the increasing volume and complexity of compliance requirements.

Benchmarking today for a smarter future

We hope the data and insights provided by our report and accompanying Accounting and Finance Workforce Planning Tool will help you assess your team structures and identify shortcomings that can be targeted for improvement.

As you gain clarity around current industry benchmarks for management and performance, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of how and where to anticipate future changes — giving you a leg up in preparing for what comes next.

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