Skip to main content

Press Releases

New Release Paragraph

Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of senior managers and workers, and company announcements.

Financial Education & Research Foundation and Robert Half Release Annual Benchmarking Accounting & Finance Functions Report
FERF and Robert Half Report Finds Staffing, Automation and Compliance Challenging Finance Leaders

MORRISTOWN, N.J. and MENLO PARK, Calif.— July 30, 2019—Financial Education & Research Foundation (FERF), the independent non-profit research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI), and global staffing firm Robert Half today released the Benchmarking Accounting & Finance Functions: 2019 report.

The research found that the greatest staffing challenge for financial executives in the United States and Canada is hiring skilled professionals. While 78% of the respondents believe their current staffing is adequate, only 33 percent in the U.S. and 26 percent in Canada feel they are staffed appropriately to manage unexpected projects.

A common contributor to staffing challenges, in addition to talent shortages, is the need to find professionals with a blend of financial and data management skills. This issue continues to influence the finance labor market’s evolution, including the growing choice to engage consultants for certain projects.

“Digital transformation continues to reshape financial functions,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “However, we are seeing leaders adapting and evolving their business and labor models to address these technological changes.  Properly staffing and managing accounting and finance initiatives will take on greater urgency as technology becomes even more prevalent and compliance challenges persist.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • Automation is accelerating and is recognized as an opportunity to help make workers more productive and valuable.
  • Most respondents indicate they do not intend to automate certain processes that benefit from human input, such as financial planning and decision making.
  • Forty percent of financial executives reveal compliance costs are increasing. The rise in compliance costs may be attributed to investment in internal control over financial reporting (ICFR) automation.  
  • Respondents cited keeping pace with regulatory changes and staff lacking the needed skills as the greatest barriers to compliance.

“We believe the annual Benchmarking report is an invaluable tool for financial executives within any organization,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, president and CEO of FEI and FERF. “It is one of the industry’s best barometers for the health of financial operations across the board. This year’s results show that organizations are finding the appropriate balance between technology and human resources. Learning from the leaders developing these strategies can provide a best-practices guide for professionals still seeking to effectively integrate both elements.”

Key Research Demographics

The report is based on survey responses from more than 1,600 financial leaders at public and private organizations in North America. Among respondents, 90 percent are from companies with $499 million or less in annual revenue. Of that 90 percent, nearly half (49 percent) are from companies with less than $25 million in revenue. More than two-thirds of the respondents (69 percent) are from private companies, nine percent are from public companies, and the remaining respondents work in the government sector. Twenty-one percent of the respondents identified themselves as CFOs. Further, 83 percent of respondents are from the United States, with the remaining 17 percent being based in Canada.

The report can be obtained at and


About Financial Education & Research Foundation, Inc.

Financial Education & Research Foundation (FERF) is the non-profit 501(c)(3) research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI). FERF researchers identify key financial issues and develop impartial, timely research reports for FEI members and nonmembers alike, in a variety of publication formats. FERF relies primarily on voluntary tax-deductible contributions from corporations and individuals, and publications can be ordered by logging onto

About FEI

Financial Executives International (FEI) is the leading advocate for the views of corporate financial management. Its more than 10,000 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, research and publications. Members participate in the activities of more than 65 Chapters in the U.S. FEI is located in Morristown, NJ. Visit for more information.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm and has more than 300 staffing locations worldwide. The company’s professional 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 is also the parent company of Protiviti, a global consulting firm providing solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, analytics, governance, risk and internal audit. Visit for more information.