Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Benefits Top List of CFOs, Surveys Find

What’s most on the mind of today’s cost-conscious CFO?

It’s no surprise that employee benefits top the list, according to surveys released recently by accounting firm Grant Thornton. One study found that 73 percent of CFOs from U.S. manufacturers said that benefits were their major concern. That was 11 percentage points higher than their second biggest worry, paying for raw materials, and 26 points higher than concerns over energy costs. Benefits are among the largest expenses and the most difficult to cut.

Chicago-based Grant Thornton surveyed 120 CFOs from companies with revenues ranging from $100 million to $1 billion.

The Grant Thornton survey also found that 70 percent of CFOs don’t expect to give pay raises this year, and that 59 percent won’t provide bonuses. In addition, 70 percent of the participants said they would be reducing recruiting and hiring activities.

In a separate survey of 46 CFOs and senior comptrollers from financial services firms, 74 percent of the participants said that employee benefits, including pensions and health care, created the most significant pricing pressure. In this survey, 85 percent of the respondents said the recession would last through 2009. But here’s a bright spot: 42 percent of the participants also said they expected their companies’ financial prospects to improve over the next six months, almost double the percentage of those who said their organizations’ prospects would worsen. 

No comments: