CFOs are predicting an increase in hiring in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a survey by staffing company Robert Half International.

Twelve percent of 1,400 CFOs interviewed by the company anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance employees, while 7 percent expect staff reductions. The net 5 percent of CFOs planning to hire is up four points from the third-quarter study and the highest projection in three years.

The results differ somewhat from a separate survey by the American Institute of CPAs of CFOs, controllers and CPAs in executive and senior management accounting roles (see CPA Financial Execs More Pessimistic about the Economy). Only 10 percent of the companies whose executives were surveyed by the AICPA in the third quarter said they currently plan to hire, down slightly from 12 percent three months earlier.

In the Robert Half survey, CFOs reported optimism about the overall outlook for their companies. Ninety-one percent of executives indicated at least some confidence in their firms’ growth potential in the fourth quarter. Fifty-five percent of the survey respondents said they are very confident, while 36 percent said they were somewhat confident.

“Though companies are still generally conservative in their hiring outlooks, many are expanding their accounting and finance departments and need professionals with the right skills to help them accommodate new growth opportunities,” said Robert Half International chairman and CEO Max Messmer in a statement. “Businesses also are adding staff in response to voluntary turnover as more employees are attracted by offers from other companies.”

The West South Central region, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, is projected to see the most active financial hiring in the fourth quarter. Nineteen percent of the finance executives surveyed in these states said they intend to add full-time accounting and finance employees in the last three months of the year. Four percent expect to reduce staff, resulting in a net 15 percent of CFOs in the region expecting personnel increases. Many of the gains there were in energy and manufacturing companies that were looking for controllers, assistant controllers, and senior and staff accountants, according to Messmer.

Nationwide, however, the industry with the most hiring of accountants and finance professionals was professional services. Executives in the professional services sector appeared to be the most likely to hire in the fourth quarter. Fourteen percent of the CFOs surveyed by Robert Half said they plan to add staff, although 5 percent expect cutbacks.

CFOs in manufacturing also expect above average hiring activity in the fourth quarter. A net 8 percent of executives in the manufacturing industry forecast personnel increases.

Financial Hiring: By Region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage ...

Increase

Decrease

No Change

Undecided

Total

 

United States

12

7

81

0

100

 

New England

15

11

74

0

100

 

Middle Atlantic

8

9

83

0

100

 

South Atlantic

14

6

80

0

100

 

East N. Central

13

7

79

1

100

 

West N. Central

11

10

79

0

100

 

East S. Central

13

7

80

0

100

 

West S. Central

19

4

77

0

100

 

Mountain

13

11

76

0

100

 

Pacific

6

5

88

1

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New England: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT; Middle Atlantic: NJ, NY, PA; South Atlantic: DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV; East North Central: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI; West North Central: IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD; East South Central: AL, KY, MS, TN; West South Central: AR, LA, OK, TX; Mountain: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY; Pacific: AK, CA, HI, OR, WA

 

 

 

 

Financial Hiring: By Industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage ...

Increase

Decrease

No Change

Undecided

Total

 

United States

12

7

81

0

100

 

Manufacturing

14

6

80

0

100

 

Retail

9

8

83

0

100

 

Fin., Ins. & R. Estate

16

12

72

0

100

 

Prof. Services

14

5

81

0

100

 

Construction

8

11

81

0

100

 

Wholesale

9

5

86

0

100

 

Transportation

12

8

79

1

100

 

Bus. Services

13

7

79

1

100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparative Data: Two-Year History of the Financial Hiring Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarter

Percent Increase

Percent Decrease

Net Increase

 

4Q11

12

7

5

 

3Q11

7

6

1

 

2Q11

7

7

0

 

1Q11

8

6

2

 

4Q10

8

7

1

 

3Q10

6

9

-3

 

2Q10

7

8

-1

 

1Q10

6

9

-3

 

4Q09

4

10

-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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