Seven percent of CFOs anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals in the second quarter, while another 7 percent plan personnel reductions, according to a new survey by staffing company Robert Half International.

The net 0 percent projection is down two points from the first-quarter 2011 forecast. Eighty-five percent of the more than 1,400 CFOs interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index said they expect to make no changes to their current staffing levels during the second quarter of 2011. Eighty-nine percent of CFOs expressed confidence in their firms' growth potential in the second quarter, up one point from the first-quarter survey.

"While improved business conditions are prompting some companies to add staff to keep pace with demand, many firms are still hesitant to commit to new resources at this point in the recovery," said Robert Half International chairman and CEO Max Messmer. "To maintain productivity and reduce the burden on their full-time teams, some organizations are hiring accounting and finance professionals on a project basis."

The Pacific states are expected to see the most active hiring in the second quarter. Twelve percent of CFOs plan to add full-time accounting and finance professionals and 5 percent foresee cutbacks, a net 7 percent increase.

"Many Pacific-region companies, particularly those in the manufacturing and technology sectors, are rebuilding their teams to meet renewed demand for their products and services," Messmer noted. "In particular, firms are looking for skilled financial analysts to help them control costs and prepare for potential growth."

Above-average hiring activity also is predicted in the Middle Atlantic region. Seven percent of CFOs there expect to add staff and 2 percent anticipate declines.

Across the United States, financial executives in the wholesale industry are most likely to hire additional staff in the upcoming quarter. A net 10 percent of respondents from the sector plan to expand their finance teams.

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