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CFO Survey: Most Employees Want Financial Updates from CFOs

A recent survey from Robert Half Management Resources found that 82 percent of U.S. workers want updates from their Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on their company’s financial performance, while 53 percent of workers said they’d be "very interested" in hearing about their company’s financial performance, regardless of how good or bad the news is.

The same survey found 88 percent of CFOs say their firm follows through on this request, sharing financial information with at least some staff. More than half of surveyed organizations provide financial data to all employees. The study also found large companies with 1,000 or more employees to be the most financially transparent.

According to the study, 87 percent of CFOs at private organizations said quarterly and annual information is made available to "at least select employees." This figure is 31 percent higher than it was in a similar survey conducted in 2016.

"Providing insights on how the business is doing can drive stronger engagement, morale and problem solving across the organization," said Jason Flanders, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "When staff feel engaged in the company’s success, morale and retention can rise as well."

It can also help ease uncertainties about business performance, Flanders said. "If employees don’t get the news from you, they’ll get it from somewhere else, like the rumor mill, or speculate on their own."

But why is it important for CFOs to maintain this open line of communication that could otherwise be expressed via quarterly reports?

"CFOs that maintain this open line of communication send an underlying message that they trust their employees. Trust can lead to loyalty," Flanders said. "In the competitive hiring environment, open and honest companies will have an edge up on landing top talent."

Flanders says ultimately, companies that don’t talk with staff about organizational performance, career paths and how individual roles help the business risk losing top performers to businesses who are transparent.

Flanders outlined some tips on how CFOs can maintain an open line of communication on financials with their employees:

  • Hold in-person meetings where possible, such as department meetings or one-on-one meetings, to foster better discussions and more interaction.

  • Pick one or two key themes to share with staff. For example, what were the key contributors to revenue growth over the last quarter? Where do expenses need to be trimmed? What are the focus points for the management team over the next quarter? How are larger economic issues impacting the company?

  • Tie your points back to the team’s roles. Show staff how their daily work fits into the big picture and drives the company’s overall success.

  • Solicit the team’s support.

  • Update the team on what ideas are implemented and how much is saved.

  • Recognize and reward great feedback.

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CFO Growth Advisors (CGA) specializes unique and highly effective growth strategies that are tailored to help companies grow more quickly and efficiently while improving sales & profit growth. Contact us to learn more.

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