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Study: CFOs Key in Determining Healthcare Benefits for Employees

New research conducted by the non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) sheds light on the continued evolution of the CFO role, particularly when it comes to managing and developing employees to ensure maximum

New research conducted by the non-profit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) sheds light on the continued evolution of the CFO role, particularly when it comes to managing and developing employees to ensure maximum efficiency and top performance.

The study, which garnered responses from 313 chief financial officers, controllers and other financial executives, found that these individuals are in tune with the impact of worker health on the financial performance of the company. As a result, CFOs are taking on a bigger role when it comes to health investment decision making, the survey noted.

Thomas Parry, president of IBI, said in a release that with budget restrictions and layoffs, companies are becoming increasingly focused on maximizing their staff to promote the bottom line.

"So many employers have downsized in this tough economy, that now more than ever, it's important for employers to truly maximize the productivity of their employees," Parry noted. "This research shows how CFOs crystallize the impact of health on financial performance and on productivity, and particularly focuses on the kinds of information critical to their health-investment decisions."

The report focused on communication and cooperation between the finance chief and benefits managers, in order to come up with the best possible plans to foster a positive working environment and promote productivity.

Specifically, the authors of the study suggest it is important for finance chiefs to work with those in the business who can give them the necessary metrics for measuring the pros and cons of benefits packages.

This becomes exceedingly important as a number of CFOs in the survey said they are challenged with a lack of pertinent information to improve work-related health decisions.

"CFOs at companies with a strong culture of health - and those who receive health and productivity management program results in terms of their firm's strategic financial goals - are more likely than others to recognize that workforce health impacts financial success in more ways than just healthcare expenses," Andy Hunzeker, the CFO of Lincoln Industries, said in the release.

The survey is just the latest example of the shifts in responsibility that finance chiefs have dealt with in recent years. According to Forbes, CFOs have transitioned from number crunchers into more big-picture executives focused on linking financial decisions to overall corporate strategy.

Global CFO studies have demonstrated this change, with finance chiefs pointing to the economic collapse as a big determining factor in the shift, according to the news source.