The jobless recovery in corporate finance is likely to continue in 2012 and beyond, and CFOs can expect to operate with smaller budgets and fewer staff, according to new key issues research from
The Hackett Group
, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT).
The study also found that companies are heavily focused on improving accuracy and timeliness of information to enable improved decision-making, and on leveraging global standards, resources and organizational models.
The Hackett Group's new key issues Research Insight "2012 Finance Agenda: The Lean Years Continue" finds that CFOs are acknowledging that for 2012, the "New Normal" has been largely accepted as the status quo, or the "Now Normal." For most companies, this means that 2012 will require them to carefully balance the search for new revenue and preserving margins amid continued high volatility.
After several difficult years, The Hackett Group's study found that CFOs were expressing mild optimism about the prospect for enterprise growth in 2012. But finance departments are going to be expected to manage with smaller budgets and fewer staff. The Hackett Group's research found that the rate of corporate revenue growth is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent in 2012 (nearly 8 percent growth over 2011). But CFOs expect to see corporate finance budget cuts of 1.5 percent and staff cuts of nearly 1 percent. So CFOs will be required to do more with less and drive an effective 10 percent increase in productivity. Combined with increased offshoring and automation, the result is almost certainly a continued jobless recovery for corporate finance.
The Hackett Group's research showed that increased volatility has clearly become the new business as usual, and finance leaders are expected to be able to respond rapidly and effectively to sudden market reverses. Companies are expecting dramatically higher volatility in the availability of talent than was seen prior to the recent financial crisis, as well as higher volatility in output pricing, exchange rates, demands, and input pricing.