Horváth study: Intensified shortage of staff in Finance & Controlling: Eleven percent of all positions are vacant – and the trend is rising

  • Controlling and IT particularly affected
  • Problems expected in meeting regulatory obligations
  • Tough competition causes increases costs and workload

At 85 percent, the "war for talent" represents the greatest medium-term business risk for CFOs, even ahead of inflation and supply shortages bottlenecks, according to aas a recent study by management consultancyts Horváth shows. "CFOs expect to get business risks back under control by 2025 -– while the shortage of skillsed workers shortage will hit full force in the next few years," says Achim Wenning, study director and partner at Horváth. The effects are already being felt painfully enormous: on average, more than one in every tenth positions in finance and controlling departments is unfilled, as the latest CFO survey shows -– and the trend is rising. By 2025, personnel costs will rise significantly, regardless of inflation, according to almost ninety percent of respondents. According to almost ninety percent of those surveyed, personnel costs will increase significantly by 2025, regardless of inflation. Just as many assume that staff shortages will make it difficult to meet new regulatory obligations and implement innovations.

Controlling and IT professionals in greater demand than ever before

Functions in the areas field of controlling (73 percent) and IT/data management (68 percent) are particularly affected. In other areas of finance, such as accounting, the need for staff shortages are is lower (32 percent). The CFOs surveyed attribute the tough competition for talent with the necessary skills to the staffing recruitment problems. In principle, they say, the qualifications required can be met and are not too specific. The respondents also do not see a lack of attractiveness of the positions and the working environment. This could be a fallacy wrong conclusion.

High salaries alone are not enough -–  modern, flexible structures are requiredneeded

"High salaries alone will not be enough in this competitive environment competition. YetHowever, only about half of the companies surveyed want to counter the personnel problem with organizational restructuring or an expansion of flexible working models. Yet this is wherecan be an important competitive advantage can lie," says Horváth expert Achim Wenning. "Agile, modern finance organizations that manage to keep workloads at acceptable levels through interdisciplinary collaboration and automated, digital processes are much more attractive to professionals. As many asAfter all, 93 percent of CFOs say that recruiting difficulties are causing their existing team to work overtime -– and that's taking into account that even though finance departments are already stretched thinoverworked." As the study also shows, another 70 percent see a medium to high risk of sickness rates increasing due to workloads. What's moreIn addition, if new hires are paid above-average salaries, the overall salary structure becomes skewed, which can lead to major dissatisfaction among the existing workforces.

Majority relies on digital solutions to increase efficiency

70 percent of the companies surveyed are , after all, increasingly implementing and using digital solutions, for example to automate processes and simplify collaboration, for example. "Of course, further Ddigital advancements developments are of course good and increase the attractiveness for new talent, but organizational structures must also keep pace with the transformation," adds Horváth partner Achim Wenning.

Potential for further training is underestimated

According to the study, only just under a third of finance departments see internal training as a suitable way of dealing with the shortage. A look at the skills that will be needed required in the future shows that the most urgent skills to be developed are those relating to communication, solution orientation and stakeholder management in order to master transformations. These competencies can also be trained internally -– if necessary, with external support.


About the study

For the current Horváth study edition of CFO Insights on the shortage of specialists skilled workers in finance departments ("Finance and the war for talents"), a total of 50 CFOs were surveyed across industries and countries, from companies with a majority of over 1,000 employees and 250 million euros in annual sales. The survey was completed in December 2022.