Canadian Treasurer

March 24, 2011

Time management CFOs' greatest challenge, followed by keeping up with technology

TORONTO--If time is money, finance executives may have something to worry about, according to a new Robert Half Management Resources survey. Nearly one-third (32 per cent) of chief financial officers interviewed cited time management due to competing priorities as their biggest work challenge. Keeping up with technology and achieving work/life balance garnered 24 per cent and 19 per cent of the response, respectively.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "In your opinion, which one of the following is the greatest challenge for financial executives today?" Their responses:

Time management given competing work priorities: 32%
Keeping up with technology: 24%
Achieving work/life balance: 19%
Staying current with accounting regulations: 16%
Don't know: 9%

"Although we see positive signs of economic improvement and business optimism, time management remains challenging for CFOs," said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. "As projects that were once deferred during the downturn are revitalized and plans for growth emerge, senior executives are faced with the difficulty of allocating time, technology, personnel and resources to these initiatives."

Robert Half Management Resources offers these tips for getting more value out of your workday:

1. Identify the "mosts." When every project seems to be top priority, focus efforts on those that will save the most money, grow the most revenue, or open doors to the most new business. Encourage your staff to use this same approach to manage their time.

2. Be realistic about internal resources. Delegating another major project to your staff may bring already overloaded employees to the breaking point. Understand their limitations in terms of time, knowledge level and experience - bringing in outside experts to manage the project may result in faster execution and fewer errors.

3. Avoid micro-managing. Set milestones and regular check-ins, but otherwise let staff run the initiative. Getting mired in details will slow the process for you and others.

4. Practice the golden rule. Show respect for others' time. Avoid scheduling meetings that, on closer inspection, aren't really necessary. Don't keep staff waiting for feedback and approvals.

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 145 locations worldwide.



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