CFOs Report On Fourth-Quarter Accounting And Finance Hiring Expectations

Most Executives Expect No Changes to Staffing Levels; Business Confidence Improving

MENLO PARK, CA, Sept. 11, 2012 -- Staffing levels in accounting and finance are projected to remain steady in the fourth quarter, according to chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Five percent of executives plan to add full-time staff during the last three months of the year, while 6 percent anticipate personnel cutbacks. The large majority, 89 percent, expect no changes.

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index, part of the company's quarterly Professional Employment Report, is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. Robert Half has been tracking financial hiring activity in the United States since 1992.

"Many companies may be waiting for a more decisive recovery before adding to their accounting and finance teams," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. "In the meantime, organizations frequently are working with temporary and project professionals to alleviate the workloads of their full-time teams and bridge skill gaps within their departments."

Despite the relatively static hiring outlook, CFOs expressed optimism regarding their businesses. Nearly six out of 10 (59 percent) executives said they are somewhat confident about their growth prospects for the fourth quarter; 36 percent are very confident.

View the research highlights.

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Region

Hiring activity is expected to be greatest in the Middle Atlantic region1 during the fourth quarter, with a net 3 percent of CFOs predicting their full-time finance teams will grow. Eight percent project staff additions and 5 percent forecast cutbacks.

"Businesses in the Middle Atlantic are hiring finance staff to support rising business volume and growth objectives, as well as to fill roles vacated by employee turnover," Messmer said. "In greatest demand are professionals at the staff and senior levels who can fill core positions such as accountant and financial analyst."

Hiring in the Mountain states2 also is projected to be more active than other parts of the country. A net 2 percent of CFOs in the region reported plans to add staff during the fourth quarter.

Accounting and Finance Hiring -- By Industry

Among industries, CFOs in wholesale expect the most active fourth-quarter hiring. A net 4 percent of financial executives plan to add staff. Six percent of respondents said they anticipate hiring, while 2 percent foresee personnel reductions.

Above-average hiring is expected within retail as well. A net 3 percent of CFOs in the sector anticipate adding accounting and finance employees in the fourth quarter.

About the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index

First published in 1992, the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is conducted by an independent research firm and based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that businesses from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and company size (by number of employees). The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of company size within each region.

Information from the study is featured in the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which was launched in 2010 and is the first study of its kind to monitor the hiring environment for professional-level positions exclusively. Based on more than 4,000 telephone interviews with executives throughout the United States, it provides insight on employment trends to help businesses and job seekers prepare for the upcoming quarter. To see how hiring in accounting and finance compares to other sectors, please visit

About Robert Half

Robert Half was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 350 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at

1 New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

2 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

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