Accounting and finance professionals will need to have a global perspective in the years ahead, according to a new survey from Robert Half Management Resources.

The staffing company found that 69 percent of the more than 2,100 CFOs it recently polled said international experience would be at least somewhat necessary for accounting and finance staff five years from now. The results are in line with a previous survey that Robert Half conducted in 2008.

The research indicates that demand for global expertise is most pronounced at larger companies, nearly unanimously so at the biggest organizations. Only 1 percent of CFOs at companies with 1,000 or more employees feel accountants will not need international experience. Even at the smallest firms surveyed (with between 20 and 49 employees), 67 percent the of executives polled said accounting and finance staff would need more than a U.S. perspective on the job.

Demand for international expertise also varies by industry. CFOs in the finance, insurance and real estate (79 percent) and the manufacturing (75 percent) sectors are more likely to look for this background.

“The world is getting smaller for accountants,” said Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald in a statement. "Global businesses need staff well-versed in international accounting regulations and business practices to ensure sound reporting and compliance with local mandates and to support expansion into new countries and markets. Even small companies and those without international operations need accountants familiar with international tax laws and regulatory requirements to determine their impact on business partners, vendors and suppliers.”

CFOs were asked, "How necessary do you feel international experience will be for accounting and finance professionals five years from now?"

[IMGCAP(1)]

 

Company size (by number of employees)

 

 

All

20-49*

50-99

100-249

250-499

500-999

1,000+*

Very necessary

14%

14%

15%

16%

9%

0%

17%

Somewhat necessary

55%

53%

55%

57%

65%

82%

83%

Somewhat unnecessary

10%

10%

13%

6%

1%

11%

1%

Not necessary

21%

24%

17%

21%

25%

7%

0%

*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

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