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The Downturn's Silver Lining: Finance Execs Gain Stature

June 7, 2011 (SmartPros) According to the results of a survey conducted by CFO Research Services, the finance function at small and midsized companies has gained in stature in the wake of the recent economic downturn. Of the 325 finance executives interviewed, 72% responded that their influence over the past two years has been enhanced.

The results of the survey have been published as a white paper, The Path to Prosperity: CFOs at Small and Midsized Companies on Post-Downturn Cost Control. The report was prepared by CFO Research Services in collaboration with Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), a leading worldwide cost-reduction consultancy.
"The results suggest that many finance executives are well positioned to gain organizational buy-in and support for the initiatives they deem important in the post-downturn environment," said Ken Hagerstrom, President and CEO of ERA-USA.
This is the second study by CFO Research Services and ERA on the subject of cost management. In the first study, published in May 2009, senior financial executives recognized the connection between better G&A cost management and better funded, more secure businesses. They were looking toward a more resource-conscious, less wasteful company culture.
According to the current study, the majority of respondents said that because of cost-reduction efforts, their companies have indeed realized these business benefits.
"Two years ago, CFOs indicated they were eager to apply the expertise, information and resources to G&A costs that they routinely directed toward direct-cost management," noted Hagerstrom. "They are now in a position to maintain, and even improve, the discipline they have brought to overhead expenses."
The current survey results also suggest that companies expect modest – although not vigorous – improvements in business prospects over the next year. The dominant growth strategy is one that is low-risk: increasing market penetration for existing product lines.
Only 13% of the respondents indicated that their companies would pursue riskier, capital-intensive growth strategies, such as developing new products and service lines, or diversification.
To read the complete results, download copies of the 2009 white paper, Bringing the Discipline of Direct Cost Management to G&A Cost, and the 2011 white paper, The Path to Prosperity, at

2011 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: CFO Research Services

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