When Every Day is Casual Friday

Nearly 3 in 4 Canadian CFOs Say Their Teams Have a Casual Dress Code, Survey Reveals

Toronto, ON – Don’t expect your accountant to be sporting a tie or business suit. Workplace attire today is trending casual, even for historically more buttoned-up accounting and finance professionals.

In a recent survey by recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting, 74 per cent of Canadian CFOs said their accounting and finance departments have a somewhat or very casual dress code. Nearly two-in-five (17 per cent) said business attire guidelines have relaxed over the last five years, compared to 12 per cent who reported a more formal dress environment.




Finance employees’ workplace attire trending more casual

CFOs were asked, “How would you describe the dress code for your accounting and finance employees?”

Very formal 3%
Somewhat formal 24%
Somewhat casual 66%
Very casual 8%

Sources: Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey of more than 270 Canadian CFOs.

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

© 2017 Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

CFOs were asked, “How would you describe the dress code for your accounting and finance employees?” Their responses*:

Very formal (suit and tie)


Somewhat formal (dress slacks or a skirt with a button-down shirt)


Somewhat casual (khakis and polo shirt or sweater)


Very casual (jeans and a T-shirt)




* Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

“Workplace dress codes are evolving to reflect changing employee preferences and trends,” said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. “Skilled professionals often seek flexible office environments. Organizations that allow their staff to choose attire appropriate to their role or work day establish a culture of trust that enhances employee morale, and stands out to potential job seekers.”

Relaxing dress codes aren’t an excuse for employees and job seekers to wear whatever they want to work or an interview. Robert Half offers tips for dressing appropriately in today’s business environment:

  • Look to the next rung. What does your boss — and your boss’s boss — wear? Take inspiration from upper management’s style and formality. Set yourself up for success by dressing for the job you want.
  • Keep it tidy. Even if you can wear jeans and T-shirts to work, ensure they’re clean and wrinkle-free. 
  • Don’t forget the details. A dress code encompasses an employee’s total appearance. Pay as much attention to your accessories and grooming as you do your clothing.
  • Play it safe when meeting with hiring managers. Don’t risk making a poor first impression with clothes that are too casual. Women should wear a blazer or business-appropriate dress and closed-toe shoes with a low heel. Men fare best in a suit or jacket and tie.
  • Dress for your day. Some companies now give employees the flexibility to choose attire based on their responsibilities (e.g., visiting clients versus doing desk work). If you’re unclear of your organization’s guidelines, consult the employee handbook or human resources department. Consider keeping a jacket in your office should your day unexpectedly change.

Scileppi added a final word of advice for employees: “What you wear is reflection of who you are. Especially in a more casual work environment, make sure your attire appropriately represents your confidence and professionalism.”

About the Research

The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.

About Robert Half Finance & Accounting

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half, is the world’s first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. The company has 325 locations worldwide and offers job search and management tools at roberthalf.ca/finance. For career and management advice, follow our blog at blog.roberthalf.ca. Follow Robert Half on Twitter at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]