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MENLO PARK, Calif. and MORRISTOWN, N.J., April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study from Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), the research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI), provides insight into professional standards across the finance function, including the average size of finance departments, hours worked and technologies used. The fourth annual report, Benchmarking the Finance Function 2013: The Inner Workings of Accounting and Finance, focuses on six key areas: workforce management, accounting operations, financial systems, sourcing, internal controls and compliance. The results are based on a survey of the finance departments of nearly 200 public and private companies in the United States and Canada.
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- U.S. management-level accounting and finance employees work an average of 48 hours in a standard week; non-management staff work an average of 42 hours. In Canada, the average workweeks for managers and staff are 44 and 39 hours, respectively. When hours regularly exceed their standard workweek, especially during peak workload periods, staff are supplemented with the use of interim professionals.
- The median number of internal staff in U.S. finance departments is 11, and the median in Canada is 16.
- Despite growth in the number of general ledger accounts, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of U.S. companies still reconcile accounts manually, placing a strain on staff and resources. Many companies are seeking solutions for automating the process of closing the books.
- Eighty percent of U.S. companies and 86 percent of companies in Canada use an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The use of on-demand software is increasing.
- Payroll is the single most outsourced function for all respondent companies, followed by tax. Accounts payable is emerging as a possible candidate for additional outsourcing.
- Larger companies are more likely to have an internal audit function responsible for compliance activities. At smaller firms, the compliance function most often resides with the financial reporting or general accounting departments.
"Financial leaders are taking a fresh look at how their departments can commit assets to achieve the most value for the company," said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. "Shared services centers, new technologies and the increased use of interim financial professionals are among the many tactics being employed to allow executives to apply resources where and when they are needed most."
"The finance function is undergoing a transformation amid a competitive business landscape and new regulations," added Marie N. Hollein, president and CEO of FEI. "To operate with precision and achieve optimal productivity, companies need to identify areas of improvement, measure themselves against peers and competitors, and address fluctuating needs and priorities."
Robert Half and FEI will host a webinar May 9, 10 to 11 a.m. PDT/1 to 2 p.m. EDT, based on the report findings. The presenters include McDonald and Thomas Thompson, Jr., senior associate, research, with FERF. This webinar will allow accounting and finance executives to more easily measure their own operations and gain insights into enhancements that can help improve department performance.
For more information or to register, visit www.roberthalf.us/benchmarking. The complimentary session qualifies for one unit of continuing professional education (CPE) credit in the United States.
About Financial Executives International
Founded in 1931, Morristown, N.J.-based FEI is the leading advocate for the views of corporate financial management. Its 15,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry. FEI enhances member professional development through peer networking, career management services, conferences, teleconferences and publications. Members participate in the activities of 86 chapters, 74 in the U.S., 11 in Canada and one in Japan. FEI has additional offices in Washington, D.C., and Toronto. For more information, visit www.financialexecutives.org.
About Robert Half
Founded in 1948, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Robert Half, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm, is a recognized leader in professional consulting and staffing services, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm that helps companies solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and internal audit. Robert Half's financial staffing divisions include Accountemps®, Robert Half® Finance & Accounting and Robert Half® Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance. Robert Half has staffing and consulting operations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at www.roberthalf.com.
SOURCE Robert Half International