Consulting Is an Attractive Career Option for Many CFOs, Robert Half Finds

Is a seat in the C-suite the final phase of a successful career? Not necessarily, according to a new survey of CFOs from Robert Half Management Resources.

Nine in 10 respondents said they think a career in consulting is attractive to senior-level accounting and finance executives; of those, 47% find it very attractive, and 43% consider it at least somewhat attractive.

For 27% of respondents who consider consulting an attractive option, the most appealing aspect is the variety and challenge of work — a 10-point jump from a similar 2015 survey.

About 2 in 10 CFOs report attractive compensation (21%) and a flexible schedule (20%) are the biggest draws.

“High interest in a consulting career speaks to the opportunities available,” said Tim Hird, an executive vice president at Robert Half. “People frequently want to work longer and take on new challenges. Consulting helps professionals accelerate their career growth and continue learning and applying their skills, all while enjoying greater flexibility.”   

Hird added, “Companies face a number of staffing challenges today, including talent shortages, lean middle-management teams and a lack of skills in-house to tackle strategic projects, such as an acquisition or system implementation. In response, organizations increasingly seek consultants and interim professionals who can provide specialized expertise and ease the burden on core teams.”

What attributes do consultants need? Robert Half Management Resources highlights five key traits:

1. Adaptability — Consultants must be comfortable acclimating to new people, processes and technologies as they move from one assignment to another.   

2. Change management — Consultants often need to support teams during times of transition. Offering insights based on past experiences can help firms navigate new territory.

3. Drive and enthusiasm — Companies rely on consultants to take initiative and help carry a project through to completion — and motivate staff and stakeholders along the way.  

4. Soft skills — Consultants must be able to effectively communicate information and ideas, align diverse viewpoints, and collaborate with colleagues across the organization.     

5. Technical expertise — Firms seek professionals who possess the subject matter knowledge and systems proficiency to parachute into a situation and hit the ground running.  

Robert Half Management Resources is a provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals for companies’ project and interim staffing needs.

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