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9 in 10 CFOs Say Consulting Careers Are Attractive

What career prospects entice today’s financial leaders once they’ve reached the top of the profession? Research suggests that for many, it could be a move to consulting. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, 94 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they find consulting attractive. Respondents cited variety and challenging work as the top draw.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CFOs at companies across Canada.

CFOs were asked, “In your opinion, how attractive is a career in consulting to senior-level accounting and finance executives?” Their responses*:

Very attractive 79%
Somewhat attractive 15%
Somewhat unattractive 1%
Very unattractive 0%
Don’t know 4%

CFOs also were asked, “Which of the following is the most attractive aspect of a career in consulting?” Their responses*:

Variety and challenge of work 34%
Active employment 14%
Ability to make decisions more autonomously 11%
Attractive compensation 10%
Flexible schedule 8%
All of the above 16%
None of the above 2%
Don’t know 4%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

“A move into consulting can offer lucrative opportunities for senior-level financial executives, as well as benefits for businesses,” David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. “When going through organizational transitions, such as IPOs, mergers or restatements, or when implementing business process improvements, companies often require specialized expertise on an interim basis. In these circumstances senior-level professionals, with years of experience supporting companies in reaching their financial goals, are ideal resources to provide strategic advice and counsel.”

Robert Half Management Resources offers five tips for those considering the move to independent finance consulting:

Determine your desired specialization. Do you want to troubleshoot for struggling companies, or manage a firm on an interim basis during a specific growth stage? Or would you prefer to focus on a particular kind of engagement, such as compliance or systems initiatives? Also examine the type of company, by size, industry and product or service, of greatest interest to you.
Identify your most marketable attributes. Once you’ve established the work that most interests you, pinpoint your skills and experience that will make target companies want to work with you.
Check in with your network. Let your contacts know about your career move. Ask them for their insights and referrals to others who can help. At the same time, be generous with your expertise. In addition to assisting others, offering advice will showcase your skills and knowledge.
Work with a staffing firm. Securing engagements and managing administrative logistics can be difficult, time-consuming and, perhaps most concerning, take you away from why you go into consulting: the work. A staffing firm specializing in the placement of senior-level financial professionals can find opportunities you may not be able to on your own, keep the pipeline of engagements flowing and manage logistical details, including invoices and payroll.
Build your visibility. Organizations want to work with experts who are committed to and passionate about their field. Writing articles for trade publications and presenting at professional association events highlight your thought leadership and dedication to the industry.

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to consultants and hiring managers at and on its blog at Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.




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