Routine reconciliation and financial reporting: For many recently downsized staffs, this is tedious work that takes up too much of their already overworked days. Wouldn't it be great to hand the job off to someone else? That's the current thinking of the new CFO of a $900 million Midwestern manufacturing company.

After she was unable to fill two vacated senior-level positions recently because of cost constraints, the CFO started considering how to accomplish various prosaic duties and still have time left for everything else. "If I lose one or two more of my staff, I am dead in the water," she says. "We'll be starting to look at 18-hour days."

Even worse, the mind-numbing, labor-intensive work takes her staff away from tasks that are infinitely more strategic or projects that could further develop important skills. "They're a great group. And I don't want them to burn out," the CFO says.

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