U.S. CFOs confident in finance teams’ compliance skills

BY KEN TYSIAC
October 2, 2013

Accounting and finance teams possess the skills to handle current regulatory compliance tasks, according to a new survey.

Nearly half (45%) of 2,100 U.S. CFOs said their accounting and finance teams possess “excellent” regulatory and compliance expertise, according to a survey developed for finance, accounting, and business systems talent provider Robert Half.

An additional 48% of CFOs rated their teams’ regulatory and compliance expertise as “good.”

“It’s not surprising today’s finance teams feel they are current on new regulations, but businesses shouldn’t fall into a false sense of security, thinking catching up to existing mandates is enough,” Robert Half Senior Executive Director Paul McDonald said in a news release. “Corporate leaders need to implement proactive strategies to ensure their employees stay up to date on emerging regulatory demands.”

The second-quarter results of the AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey found that more than half of CPA business executives (54%) reported at least a moderate increase in their finance staff’s workload over the past five years in response to requirements from the federal health care reform laws. A moderate, significant, or very significant finance workload increase also was reported by at least one-third of respondents as a result of compliance requirements originating from the IRS or U.S. Treasury (39%); state and local government regulators (38%); and state and local tax authorities (35%).

Just one-quarter of respondents reported adding staff to handle the extra work. Instead, six in 10 respondents said they required more output or hours worked from current employees, and one-third said they outsourced work to outside contractors or vendors.

Accounting and finance teams can make sure their skills are up to date through training opportunities, seminars, continuing professional education courses, and on-site sessions with specialized consultants, McDonald said.

Ken Tysiac ( ktysiac@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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