The ‘Benchmarking the Accounting and Finance Function: 2016 Report’ from Robert Half, provides some excellent benchmarks based on responses from more than 1700 financial leaders across the private and public sector. In the fast paced, fast changing finance environment, their statistics and analysis are a great way to gain insight into how your environment compares with peer companies. We’ve put together a brief synopsis of the most significant findings relevant to the World Class Finance journey:
- Those tasked with financial reporting duties are the most likely to bear responsibility for executing compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley Act or similar mandates.
- For the third consecutive year, more companies reported that the cost of compliance requirements had remained steady rather than rising. But in the next 3 years more than half of those same companies believe their compliance burden will increase.
- Some companies interviewed cited that they expect to see better productivity as a result of increased compliance. By centralizing certain processes, you put one standard in place, so you have one documentation process to do and one set of controls to test.
- The finance function has the primary responsibility for the overall effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting
- The number of internal controls documented in ICFR frameworks decreased somewhat from last year. 83% of both US and Canadian companies of all sizes surveyed had 100 or fewer key controls, suggesting that they have eliminated some unnecessary repetition and complexity and are growing more comfortable in how they establish and test controls.
- The steady decrease in recent years in the number of key internal controls suggests that companies continue to work toward streamlining the number of controls they have in place by reducing redundancies and generally striving to make compliance activities more efficient.
- Financial executives acknowledged that there are some benefits to having an improved control environment. In fact, some private company financial executives said their companies had voluntarily enhanced their standards, either with an eye towards eventually going public or to provide greater confidence to stakeholders.
- Acceptance of cloud based solutions in the financial function seems to be increasing: 62% of US respondents said they are using cloud based solutions or plan to in the future, compared to 51% in last years survey
- US companies using an on premise ERP system as their primary financial system dropped considerably from 53% in 2015 to 32% vs 78% in 2014 as more people switch to cloud technology instead.
- 42% are using cloud solutions, 20% are planning on it and 37% say they have no plans to.
Read the full report here