Finance Teams Continue to Face the Staffing Crunch

by FEI Daily Staff

Some of the biggest companies are finding that they remain understaffed as business and regulatory pressures continue to mount.

Sixty-two percent of the largest organizations (those with more than $5 billion in revenue) report their accounting and finance teams are at least somewhat understaffed, according to the newly issued Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function 2017 by Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) and Robert Half.

The report, now in its eighth year, is based on survey responses from more than 1,400 financial leaders at public and private organizations in the United States and Canada. It also includes insights from follow up interviews with select financial executives.

This year, we found many accounting and finance organizations are facing challenges — especially around recruiting and retaining skilled talent for their teams.

Broadly, the median employee number for all firms either stayed the same, or went down from 2016. Businesses in the $1 billion to $4.9 billion revenue range have also seen a sizable reduction in their median staff size over the past year — dropping from 84 employees in 2016 to 40 in this year’s survey.

The report cites that one factor prompting these declines is automation. The reduction in manual processes and increase in efficiency are helping companies do more with less

The report begins with a discussion of workforce management trends, and goes on to detail how companies and their finance leaders are handling the everyday operations of the accounting and finance function.

Other topic areas include trends in outsourcing, cloud technology adoption, automation and the burden of compliance demands. In addition, we’ve highlighted comparisons between the new data and previous years’ data and noted any trends or significant differences.

The report is based on responses from leaders of accounting and finance. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of respondents identified themselves as CFOs. Two-thirds of respondents are from private companies (66 percent), while 15 percent work at public companies. Most respondents (83 percent) said their company’s annual revenue is under $500 million.

The report can be obtained at