Established in 1944, Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) is the research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI). FERF, with headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, is a non-profit, non-political, educational organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3) and is funded by voluntary, charitable contributions (and not FEI member dues). FERE is proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
As part of its mission, FERF provides knowledge and insight to FEI members and the broader financial community. We support informed decision-making by senior-level financial executives and their organizations through unbiased Issue Alerts and Executive Reports, a valuable benefit to FEI membership.
FERF research is based on the experience, expertise and thought leadership of senior-level financial executives accessed through quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Our research is read and referenced by FEI members, the media, standard-setters and regulators.
Quantitative research provides valuable benchmarking information based on surveys of FEI members. Some of FERF's most popular benchmarking reports include the annual Audit Fee Survey, Financial Executive Compensation Survey and Benchmarking the Finance Function, as well as other reports that often receive media attention.
In its ninth year, the Audit Fee Survey has evolved from being a report that provided "year one" costs of compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to a more robust forum for companies to share their audit fee expenses and experiences, and to benchmark audit fees and compliance costs with their peers. For example, in the 2013 Audit Fee Survey, public company respondents reported that fees continue to rise, but at a slower rate than in previous years, averaging four percent from the prior year. FERE expects to release the 2014 version in July.
In July 2012, Marie Hollein, President of FEI and FERF, referenced the results of FERF's 2012 Audit Fee Survey in testimony before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprise, House Committee on Financial Services, on the topic of the "10th Anniversary of the Sarbanes Oxley Act." Marie testified, "We found that for public companies who responded to our survey regarding their audit fees for the year 2011, on average, fees continue to rise five percent from the prior year, to $4 million per company. Clearly, the cost of compliance continues to grow."
Our Benchmarking the Accounting and Finance Function report, released in May 2014, provides metrics on staffing, financial systems, outsourcing and more. FERF and Robert Half partnered again to provide the fifth annual report, which outlines key findings regarding the manual reconciliation of accounts versus third-party software. Further, the report emphasizes the importance of a fast and clean close, compares hours...