Staffing levels in the accounting and finance field are expected to remain steady in the fourth quarter, according to CFOs surveyed by staffing company Robert Half International.

Five percent of the more than 1,400 CFOs surveyed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index indicated they intend to add full-time staff during the last three months of the year, while 6 percent anticipate personnel cutbacks. The great majority, 89 percent, expect no changes.

“Many companies may be waiting for a more decisive recovery before adding to their accounting and finance teams,” said Robert Half International chairman and CEO Max Messmer in a statement. “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) of the executives said they are somewhat confident about their growth prospects for the fourth quarter, while 36 percent said they are very confident.

Hiring activity is expected to be greatest in the Middle Atlantic region comprising New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania during the fourth quarter, with a net 3 percent of CFOs predicting their full-time finance teams will grow. Eight percent of the CFOs anticipate staff additions, while 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 states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming is also projected to be more active than other parts of the country. A net 2 percent of the CFOs in the region reported plans to add staff during the fourth quarter.

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

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

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