Regulatory issues requiring more attention from some CFOs

Managing regulatory compliance has become a more arduous task in the past 12 months for one-fifth of US CFOs, a new survey shows.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, new regulations have been added through US legislation such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Twenty per cent of CFOs reported that it is more challenging to manage their firm’s compliance-related initiatives than it was a year ago, according to a survey of companies in large US markets by professional staffing resources firm Robert Half Management Resources.

Fewer than one in ten CFOs (9%) said managing compliance is easier than it was 12 months ago. Sixty-five per cent said there was no change in their compliance challenges in the past 12 months.

“As regulatory demands grow in complexity, many companies are struggling to keep staff up to date on emerging compliance rules,” Paul McDonald, a Robert Half senior executive director, said in a news release. “Training and continuous learning become crucial in meeting a broad range of mandates, from financial reporting and tax laws to the Affordable Care Act.”

CFOs in the Robert Half survey who said they find compliance issues more challenging also were asked how they have addressed the increasing compliance load:

  • 59% said they have provided additional training to existing staff.
  • 57% said they have increased workloads for existing staff.
  • 25% said they have hired new full-time staff.
  • 24% said they have hired consultants or project professionals.

The research confirms other recent findings. Regulatory changes and scrutiny was the risk business leaders reported being most concerned about for 2014 in a survey by North Carolina State University’s Enterprise Risk Management Initiative and consultant Protiviti.

Also, 60% of CPA business executives participating in the American Institute of CPAs Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey for the second quarter of 2013 said their current employees had been required to produce more or work more hours as a result of increased regulatory pressures in the previous five years.

Ken Tysiac ( is a JofA senior editor.