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Interim CFO requests jump 46%

Written on Apr 19, 2024

Demand for interim financial leadership jumped last year, with requests for interim CFOs increasing by 46%, according to a report by Business Talent Group. 

The report also said requests for on-demand talent with skills in key areas of finance also grew. Talent that’s skilled in audit, accounting and financial controls increased 33%, while those for FP&A and modeling skills increased 28%. 

Competition to find and retain skilled accounting talent has only become fiercer in recent years amid a worsening shortage of accounting professionals, leaving companies with critical gaps in their financial leadership and function. In addition to surging demand for interim CFOs, requests for senior vice president or vice president-level financial professionals — such as controllers and the heads of financial planning & analysis — rose by 114%, according to BTG. 

Historically, many companies have looked to fill roles in FP&A, audit, financial reporting and up to the CFO or controller chair with employees that have previously worked for an accounting firm, but dynamics have changed in recent years where many roles in accounting are now outsourced. 

The narrower pipeline of new accounting graduates plus a high rate of retirement in the industry can leave the employees that are left overworked, increasing the likelihood of mistakes, according to a report by Fortune. “Significant attrition” in the accounting department for retail brand Tupperware contributed to a delay in the company’s ability to file its annual 10-K form on time with the SEC, for example, the second consecutive year the brand will be filing late. 

Companies may also be more motivated to try out on-demand talent as they look to plug critical skill gaps in their workforces. Ninety-five percent of executives said they anticipate difficulty finding the “ideal combination of skills, capacity and expertise” inside their teams, BTG’s report said.  

That includes how they might be approaching interim leadership; many firms are looking for on-demand talent to help provide critical support for larger-scale projects or initiatives, according to BTG, a category that makes up 27% of all talent requests. Interim leadership can provide benefits to companies who are in transition or who are undertaking major changes, according to a 2023 CFO Dive report citing BTG data from that year. 

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