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Singapore – CFOs facing skills shortages

10 December 2013

The biggest problem faced by finance leaders as the end of the financial year approaches, ending the 31 December 2013, is the lack of skills in their team, according to a survey by recruitment company Robert Half.

In a survey of 150 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors in Singapore, more than half (52%) reported experiencing such difficulties. Among large companies with more than 500 employees, the skills shortage is more acute with 72% lamenting the lack of skills in their permanent staff.

The next most common challenge is the lack of time they have to meet deadlines – a problem faced by 47% of finance leaders. Nearly a third of finance leaders believe they have a problem with the lack of motivation in their staff (29%). 

According to the survey, the average work week will expand by +10% to meet the end of fiscal year deadlines, while 2% of employees can expect a +50% increase in their working hours. These additional hours are compensated for with additional time off (51%), overtime pay (49%) or a bonus (23%).

To overcome the skills shortage, 89% of finance leaders are planning to employ interim staff to boost their team. Using interim staff is most favoured by large companies (500+ employees) where 94% will look to make temporary hires. 

Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half Singapore, said the end of financial year always results in an increase in hiring activity within the finance and accounting profession. "The end of the fiscal year is always a stressful time for CFOs and their teams.  Adding more manpower to get the job done is sometimes the only way to meet deadlines. There are plenty of opportunities around for people with financial skills who don't want to work full-time, to take an interim role to fill a skills gap at a company.”



(0-49 employees)


(50 to 499 employees)


(500+ employees)

Lack of skills among permanent staff 52% 47% 45% 72%
Lack of time 47% 43% 50% 50%
Lack of motivation among permanent staff 29% 26% 31% 31%
Lack of budget to engage temporary / interim staff 19% 18% 17% 22%
Managing auditors 14% 16% 14% 9%
Technical issues with accounting software / ERP systems 9% 7% 17% 6%
Managing temporary / interim staff 9% 12% 10% 3%
Access to reports / data 7% 7% 7% 9%


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