PracticeAccounting FirmsCut now and you might pay later

Cut now and you might pay later

Almost half (45%) of finance departments in businesses affected by the downturn have suffered job cuts in the past year

In the parlous financial and economic circumstances we face, you might say
‘that’s not too bad, all things considered’. But these findings from recruiter
Robert
Half
do create cause for concern, for a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, things could get worse before they get better. There are no
guarantees that those who have so far escaped the chop will avoid it the next
time around.

Secondly, we don’t know if respondents were, how shall we put it, completely
open in their answers. Some may have decided not to give out all the gory
details, while others may have seen jobs disappear through natural wastage and
don’t consider that a ‘cut’.

Thirdly, what happened to these new-fangled, streamlined finance departments
we’ve heard about?

Finance has been through the mangle on a number of occasions to make it lean
and mean, with many processes automated or outsourced. Obviously this hasn’t
caught on with every FD, or where it has happened the finance staff are not
being utilised effectively.

And last, but certainly not least, when things are going pear-shaped all
around, the business needs answers to tough financial questions such as ‘how
much cash do we have, can we pay rent, wages and fulfill our order book?’
Answering these difficult questions won’t be made any easier by cutting staff or
losing your most experienced team members through voluntary redundancy.

So 45% doesn’t sound disastrous – but maybe it is. It’s easy to shed ‘em but
difficult to bring back that talent. Think carefully before taking this most
obvious cost-cutting route.

comment@accountancyage.com

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