Most CFOs Will Maintain Accounting/Finance Staffing in the Third Quarter

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Accounting remains a safe haven within the finance space for those who are currently employed, a new report finds.

The number of full-time employees in accounting and finance departments should change very little in the third quarter, says Robert Half’s latest Financial Hiring Index.

A full 93 percent of chief financial officers the staffing firm interviewed across different businesses expect to maintain their current staff levels in the upcoming quarter.

Three percent of respondents said they plan to add accounting and finance employees, while 4 percent anticipate staff decreases, according to the findings, which were based on interviews with 1,400 CFOs in the U.S.

"The eurozone debt crisis, as well as inconsistent economic indicators in the United States, may be prompting companies to take a more measured approach to hiring," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, announcing the findings.

Pockets of hiring opportunity exist

But pockets of hiring opportunities do exist. As we recently reported, back office finance and accounting staff at the entry-level are finding opportunities opening up.

In an interview with eFinancialCareers, Mike McNamara, vice president of Accounting Principals, finance and accounting staffing firm, says that critical back office promotions are no longer on hold, creating an opening for junior staff. He notes that college grads with specialized skills in accounting and finance have an advantage when it comes to entry-level jobs.

Moreover, nearly seven in 10 of those responding to the Robert Half survey said they face a recruiting environment that is either somewhat or very challenging, up from 62 percent last quarter.

Financial and business systems analysts in demand

"While many companies are not expected to change the size of their staff in the immediate term, financial executives continue to report difficulty finding skilled talent in high-demand specialties," Messmer says. "Positions in demand include financial analysts, senior and staff accountants and business systems analysts."

Retailers are seen doing the most hiring in the third quarter, with 4 percent of respondents in the sector saying they expect to add accounting and finance professionals, compared to 2 percent who anticipate cutbacks.

The West South Central region is expected to see the most active hiring in the third quarter, with a net 1 percent of executives interviewed planning to hire full-time accounting and finance employees.

Two percent of CFOs in these states anticipate adding staff, while 1 percent forecast personnel reductions.

In the South Atlantic states, 3 percent of respondents anticipate hiring and 3 percent expect staff decreases. Two percent of West North Central CFOs plan staff increases, while another 2 percent foresee reducing staff levels.

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