Over a third of UK finance teams lack the time to perform their job effectively, say CFOs

Thirty-five per cent of CFOs say their teams don't have enough hours in the day to complete finance tasks and projects in time.

  • Thirty-five per cent of CFOs say their teams don't have enough hours in the day to complete finance tasks and projects in time
  • A quarter (24%) of CFOs are concerned about inadequate commercial skills within their teams
  • Improving communications between internal departments a priority for 38% of finance directors

London, 22 May 2013 – As finance teams across the UK continue to experience skills shortages, new research1 from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK, shows that more than a third (35%) of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are concerned about the lack of time their teams have to complete work and projects.

The research, carried out among 200 finance directors across UK businesses, shows a quarter (24%) believe that skills shortages exist within their teams and that employees lack the commercial acumen necessary to carry out tasks effectively. The findings show that many CFOs are turning towards temporary or interim staff to complete important tasks and offer new skills to the business. Indeed, more than one in five (21%) CFOs cite a lack of permanent employees to complete work and projects.

CFOs were asked: Thinking about your finance team, which, if any, have a negative impact on your business?

Lack of time to complete work and projects 35%
Inadequate commercial skills 24%
Lack of permanent employees to complete work and projects 21%
Lack of cross-departmental collaboration 21%
Lack of mid-management leadership 18%
Lack of temporary/interim professionals to capitalise on team efficiency 18%
Inadequate technical skills 16%
Scope creep 9%
None 21%

CFOs themselves are being placed under intense pressure to improve the perceived value and performance of the business, at a time when it is already difficult to attract and retain high quality finance staff. To help facilitate this 'skills gap', three in 10 (31%) CFOs report that they have either 'somewhat' or 'significantly' increased the number of interim and temporary staff in their department compared to three years ago.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK commented: "The role of the CFO is vitally important as they are increasingly required to provide strategic guidance and commercial leadership in addition to traditional financial management and accounting. The term 'doing more with less' seems to be quite a common phrase these days. However, when business critical tasks are being neglected due to a lack of time by finance teams, alternative measures need to be explored. Whether to provide support for daily tasks or leverage niche skill sets for technical projects, many CFOs are drafting in extra support from temporary and interim workers to help fill the skills gap." 

To help optimise efficiencies within their departments, nearly four out of ten (38%) finance directors plan to improve communication between internal departments. One possible benefit of this is to help facilitate business partnering across the organisation: collaborating with different parts of the business to help companies launch cost-cutting measures, optimise efficiencies and extend the influence of the finance function across the organisation.

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Notes to editors

About the Survey
1The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 finance directors / CFOs across the UK. The survey was conducted in December 2012.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.