Lack of skills and motivation hampering fiscal year-end according to one third of CFOs

02 October 2013
  • Nearly two thirds (64%) of finance directors are likely to engage temporary staff to help manage their 2013 fiscal year-end
  • Finance teams increase their work week by 5 hours to manage fiscal year-end
  • Four in ten (43%) organisations have rewarded staff with additional annual leave/time off in lieu

London, 2 October 2013 – With the fiscal year-end fast approaching for most companies, new research from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK, reveals that a lack of motivation and skills among permanent staff rank as the top two key challenges when managing end-of-year financials, according to 34% and 32% of chief finance officers (CFOs) and financial directors (FDs), respectively.  To cope with heavy workloads, nearly two thirds (64%) of executives say they are likely to engage temporary and/or interim staff to help manage this process.  

Staff experiencing poor motivation is more prevalent among mid-sized companies (40%), and those based in the Midlands (38%), while a lack of skills is a key concern for large firms (46%), and firms based in London and the South East and the North and Scotland (40%).

Other key challenges ranked by CFOs when managing fiscal year-end include managing auditors (32%), lack of time (32%), managing temporary/interim staff (29%), lack of budget to engage temporary/interim staff (27%), access to reports/data (19%) and technical issues with accounting software/ERP systems (16%).

200 CFOs/FDs were asked: ‘What three challenges does your department encounter when managing your fiscal year-end?’

 

Lack of motivation amongst permanent staff 34%
Managing auditors 32%
Lack of skills amongst permanent staff 32%
Lack of time 32%
Managing temporary/ interim staff 29%
Lack of budget to engage temporary / interim staff 27%
Access to reports / data 19%
Technical issues with accounting software / ERP systems 16%
None of the above /  no challenges 8%
 

The research also shows that, on average, finance teams work an average of 5 additional hours on top of their normal working week to manage fiscal year-end – approximately an additional 20 hours per month. To cope with heavy workloads, nearly two thirds (64%) of finance executives plan to bring on additional temporary help, rising to nearly three quarters (72%) in the South West and Wales.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director UK, Robert Half said: “The fiscal year-end is generally the busiest period for finance and accounting teams, bringing heavy workloads and overtime and impacting employee morale and motivation. There is no escaping the annual round-up of financial performance and despite planning ahead, there are generally too few hours in the day to complete time sensitive tasks. As finance leaders look to reduce the impact on accounting staff, the majority are bringing on skilled temporary professionals to not only help with excessive workloads, but also offer specialised skills and expertise that many not be available in-house.”

With the added pressure on finance teams during these periods, organisations are increasingly rewarding their staff with additional benefits and/or remuneration.  Indeed, the research shows that more than four in 10 (43%) organisations have allocated additional annual leave/time off in lieu, while 40% have provided employees with overtime pay and 28% with bonuses.

Other initiatives include, team function/recognition event cited by nearly one in five (19%) organisations, followed by additional non-financial benefits (10%). However, 16% of organisations do not provide any additional remuneration to their staff.

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Notes to editors

About the Survey

1 The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 finance directors / CFOs across the UK. The survey was conducted in June 2013.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 345 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology and administrative professionals.