What is top of mind for finance leaders at mid-size organizations this year? The “8th Annual CFO Alliance Sentiment Study” surveyed more than 500 senior financial executives in the middle market to understand anticipated challenges and opportunities for this segment, and offers insights on how to address them. Here are some of the report’s key findings:
The Role of the CFO Continues to Evolve
The CFO role will continue to expand in 2018, with 75 percent of respondents saying their role will become more strategic. The study reports, “The decisions made by CFOs won’t be bound to the finances of an organization, but will grow to include human resources and talent acquisition, IT, legal, risk management, and business operations.” This will require today’s CFOs and future finance leaders to have a combination of financial skills, strong leadership and communication skills, and business acumen.
Possessing the right technology will be a key driver for CFOs, with nearly 50 percent of respondents indicating that inefficient systems will be one of the biggest challenges.
Greater Finance Automation
Finance automation is a top focus for CFOs, with more than half of respondents intending to increase their investment in finance automation in 2018. Technology advances and automation will help to improve work processes and efficiencies within finance, enabling CFOs to focus more on bringing data and analytics to the rest of the enterprise.
According to the report by The CFO Alliance, possessing the right technology will be a key driver for CFOs, with nearly 50 percent of respondents indicating that inefficient systems will be one of the biggest challenges in 2018.
Technology was also most frequently cited as the driving force behind an acquisition strategy. According to the report, acquisition strategies are expected to be dictated by the accompanying technological benefits of acquisitions.
Stronger Risk Management and Cybersecurity Readiness
Enterprise risk management and cybersecurity are both areas where finance leaders feel their company is underprepared, with over 80 percent of respondents reporting that they and their management teams are not prepared or only somewhat prepared to respond to an unexpected disruption to their enterprise.
CFOs will be looking across the organization and externally for support on these issues, with the report stating, “Our CFOs believe that keeping up with change is something that concerns everybody throughout the enterprise.”
For more on these findings and others including how CFOs feel about the economy, talent needs, and the importance of bench strength in sales, read the report “2018 CFO Sentiment Study: The Collective Mind of the Modern CFO.”