Hard Times

Why finance executives are overworked and under stress.

Today, Skidmore, who now works as a consultant with Hudson Financial Solutions, a project-based finance outsourcing company, looks back at his time in Saudi Arabia with a new perspective. “I still keep in touch by E-mail with people who are there,” he says. But as far as the attack goes, “it’s hard to talk about. I’m doing better with it now.” At the time, he says, “I [was] such a workaholic, I just let work take care of my fear.” —K.F.

Finance under Pressure

Findings from CFO’s survey of 227 finance executives.

How much pressure do you feel at work these days?
Very great pressure 13%
Great pressure 49%
Moderate pressure 34%
Little pressure 3%
Very little pressure 1%
How has this pressure changed over the past two years?
Pressure has increased 68%
No change 26%
Pressure has decreased 6%
If the pressure or the hours worked in your department have increased, what do you see as the root causes?*
Greater demand for finance support from our businesses 52%
New regulatory requirements 41%
New business initiatives at my company 41%
Staff cuts and/or hiring freezes 40%
Systems implementation 25%
Other 8%
What steps is your company taking to alleviate the pressure on finance employees?*
None 38%
Implementing new finance technology 27%
Additional hiring 23%
Splitting up job responsibilities 15%
Increased use of temps or interim finance executives 11%
Other 5%
Average hours worked by finance executives
Two years ago 49.0
Today 52.9
* Respondents allowed to choose more than one.
Do you think that finance employees have more work to do than others in your company?
Yes 61%
No 33%
Not sure 6%
Do you think the rest of your company values the contributions of finance sufficiently?
Yes 35%
No 57%
Not sure 8%
Do you think that work-related stress has had a harmful effect on your health?
Yes 63%
No 26%
Not sure 11%
Do you use all of your vacation days each year?
Yes 38%
No 62%
When you do take a vacation, do you do any of the following?*
Check my work voice mail 61%
Check my work E-mail 55%
Read business publications (print or online) 53%
Watch business news on TV 43%
Bring my laptop 35%
Do office work 21%
Bring my BlackBerry/other wireless E-mail device 19%
Are you currently looking for a new job, or do you plan to in the next year?
Yes 39%
No 61%
If you could do it all over again, would you choose a career in finance?
Yes 64%
No 17%
Not sure 19%
* Respondents allowed to choose more than one.

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