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Treasurers move into the spotlight

As CFOs take on more responsibility in the corporate structure, treasurers are taking a greater role in strategy, according to a survey by recruiting firm Crist Associates.

The survey of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies in the US found that CFOs are increasingly considered the number two reporting slot for publicly traded companies, with responsibility for IT and HR on top of their normal finance duties. As a result, treasurers are being asked to work with operating executives to understand how financing affects the company's bottom line, and how legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley affects controls.

Crist Associates recently completed three large hiring projects for treasury departments at Fortune 500 companies and found that employers were looking for treasurers that could help them understand how the role can make more money for the business over time. Those conclusions were supported by a subsequent survey on the subject, The Crist Volatility Report.

Among the survey's other findings were:

- CFO turnover has decreased during the past five years;

- Companies are more likely to look outside their own company when hiring a CFO, due to greater involvement of boards in selecting the CFO; and

- A growing percentage of CFOs have taken on the mantle of serving as the number two officer, behind the CEO.

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