Number of employees in the finance function to increase globally

Monday, 6 June 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

According to the latest global report by CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) based on the research by the centre of excellence at the University of Bath school of management, the finance function is set to grow internationally with over 30% of those surveyed expecting the number of finance employees in their organisation to increase over the next five years.

In the current economic climate this could prove a comforting thought for those looking to develop a successful career in finance – with a healthy 84% of respondents saying they do not expect to see any reduction in the number of finance staff employed within their organisations.

The full survey results are included in the report ‘Finance and organisational performance, shaping the future’ supported by Hays Senior Finance. This report, the third in the series, is based on substantive global data with input from more than 4000 finance and senior managers. It provides insight into how the shape, structure and roles within the finance function are changing to better meet organisational objectives.

The role of management support (covering areas such as business strategy, risk management and decision support) is explored in the research, where there is evidence of an increasing demand from businesses for a stronger focus on this within finance functions going forward.

Over 50% of large firms said that they would expect staff time and staff numbers dedicated to management support to increase. This is highlighted by over 40% of them saying they would also expect the same of management accounting.

The downside is that 33% of those surveyed would expect job cuts in accounting operations as a result. Yet there are encouraging signs for career and salary progression with 67% of respondents reporting that those who do undertake management support activities are better remunerated and promoted faster.

Robert Jelly, Executive Director, CIMA, commented: “The finance function continues to evolve and the areas of management support and business partnering are playing an increasing role in organisations. This is driven by the strong perception that such activities add value by better helping the organisation to achieve its objectives.

“CIMA members are trained to manage risk and make key business and strategic decisions so are well placed for such roles. The CIMA syllabus is designed to deliver a strong understanding of all aspects of business, so our members can and do contribute in many areas of an organisation and are not restricted to just traditional finance roles.”

Chris McCarthy, Director at Hays Senior Finance, said: “The new report confirms what we have been seeing in terms of the evolution and changing shape of the finance profession. The increase in demand for finance professionals is creating new global opportunities, giving individuals the opportunity to work across more functional areas and embrace new challenging projects.

“We are in exciting times as finance professionals remain at the fore, working with leaders to ensure their organisation remains competitive.”