CFOs Smile about the Future

June 7, 2010 ( – Despite a projected 3% net decrease in hiring during the third quarter of 2010, chief financial officers in a recent survey were optimistic about the outlook for the finance and accounting professions.

A Robert Half news release about its survey said 6% of respondents plan to hire full-time accounting and finance workers during the third quarter while 9% plan staff cutbacks and 83% do not see any changes.

Eighty-four percent of respondents said they are very or somewhat confident in their firms’ growth prospects for the next three months, the same figure reported the previous quarter, Robert Half said.

The West South Central states should experience the most active hiring in the third quarter, survey results show. Twelve percent of CFOs anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance staff and 6% plan to decrease personnel levels, yielding a net 6% of companies planning to hire in the next three months.

Firms in the Mountain and New England states also expect hiring activity above the national average. A net 2% of executives in both of these sections of the country said they plan to boost staff levels in the coming quarter.

CFOs in the transportation industry are most optimistic about their hiring plans for the third quarter, with a net 5% forecasting personnel increases. Hiring among manufacturing firms also is expected to outpace the national average, with a net 3% of executives in the sector anticipating adding staff.

“Though most CFOs are optimistic about future growth for their companies, many remain cautious in their hiring outlook and are keeping a close watch on economic trends,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, in the announcement. “At the same time, some firms are managing increased business activity by bringing in temporary professionals or making strategic full-time hires.”

The Robert Half Financial Hiring Index is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States.