Benchmarking Accounting & Finance Functions: 2019

Financial executives have to tackle myriad challenges facing their organizations — from competition for skilled talent to heightened regulatory compliance demands.

For the past decade, Robert Half and Financial Education & Research Foundation have reported top-of-mind issues for finance leaders.

Download the latest report to see how other financial leaders like you are staffing for today’s accounting and finance environment.

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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 from the report 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.

Here are some of the key research findings from the Benchmarking Accounting & Finance Functions: 2019 report.

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Icon with text indicating 4 in 10 financial leaders feel their teams are understaffed

Workforce management

Risks of the talent crunch — The greatest staffing challenge in finance is hiring skilled professionals, our research found. Compounding the difficulty, approximately 4 in 10 financial leaders surveyed feel their teams are understaffed, and previous benchmarking research revealed firms are likelier to expand than reduce staff levels due to digital transformation efforts.

Increasing reliance on interim resources — The percentage of U.S. respondents reporting that their firms work with interim staff climbed 9 points, and Canada saw a 2-point rise. This approach is most common in accounts payable, general accounting and accounts receivable.

Automation, cloud computing and financial systems

Adopting automation — The two main barriers to increasing automation are lack of time and lack of budget. Organizations making progress have done so in areas such as invoicing and report generation.

Wide cloud usage — 79% of respondents said their companies already use or plan to employ cloud solutions. The percentages of firms using just cloud-based systems rose 4 points in the United States and 3 points in Canada.

Icon indicating a 7-point decline in the percentage of U.S. respondents

Accounting operations

Less manual reconciliation — The research found a 7-point decline in the percentage of U.S. respondents whose organizations manually reconcile accounts. Canada saw a steeper drop: 18 points.

Decreasing general ledger accounts — Roughly 9 in 10 companies reconcile 500 GL accounts or fewer. While that is in line with the 2018 findings, percentages of firms reconciling fewer than 100 accounts are up 3 points in the United States and 6 points in Canada.

Internal controls and compliance

Fewer internal controls to manage — Finance leaders report being more efficient with internal controls. Roughly half of firms use fewer than 100 of them.

Growing compliance burden — The majority of leaders expect their firm’s compliance burden to increase over the next three years; only 2% expect it to subside. Respondents also reported their greatest barrier to compliance is keeping up with regulatory changes.

Find out more about how finance leaders like yourself are staffing for the challenges their organizations face.