Your CFO peers are dealing with unprecedented inflation, several bank failures and an unpredictable labor market. And don’t forget about the new COVID-19 variant that the Centers for Disease Control says is now present in the U.S.
It’s no wonder that a 2022 survey by PwC found that nearly half (47%) of CFOs said their top priority is building predictive models and scenario analysis capabilities to try to account for different “what-ifs” in their budgeting and forecasting.
Take charge of IT strategy creation
Your CFO peers are realizing that the IT investments of the past may not have formed a system that operates cohesively. For instance, point solutions that were good at solving one problem in Finance might not integrate with other solutions, leading to data silos that hinder decision making.
Moves to consider making:
- Automate A/P, A/R, payroll and account reconciliation
- Automate other areas of the business. One example: tech that enables customers to serve themselves as much as possible, and
- Work with your CIO to establish a spending decisions process that considers alignment with strategic priorities of the business, integration with the technology you already use, and a clear ROI that can be documented, measured and actively managed.
And don’t miss the ResourcefulFinancePro webinar “AI-Powered Finance: The CFO’s Guide to the Future” on September 28. Click here to find out more.
Prioritize cybersecurity compliance
Responsibility for an organization’s financial integrity and the ability to evaluate regulatory mandates are key reasons why CFOs need to be involved in the decision making around cybersecurity risk responses and strategies.
More than three out of four CFOs (78%) plan to enhance their cyber risk management, according to PwC.
Working closely with your CIO and your board of directors will be essential, of course. And to catch potential risks that company insiders may miss, this may be a good time to consider asking a third-party partner to assess your cybersecurity measures, help craft the security plan you need (especially tailored training and protocols for Finance employees) and recommend software investments.
Here’s a helpful benchmark from Statista: On average, companies worldwide allocate at least 12 percent of their IT budget to information security.
How’s your cybersecurity insurance policy? Does the indemnity depend on minimum requirements for asset inventory, patching, vulnerability management and incident response?
And does it help pay for:
- notifying customers about a data breach
- services to help affected customers deal with the fallout from leaked personal information
- recovering data that may have been encrypted and held for ransom, and
- repairing damaged computer systems?
The Premier Learning Solutions workshop “How To Secure Your Vendor Data to Avoid Internal & External Fraud” on September 26 will arm you with some helpful information. Click here to find out more.
Also, download our free guide, “Top 10 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes in 2023” here.
Get involved in your company’s HR strategy
The talent landscape is complicated right now, with rising wages, labor shortages, increasing hiring costs, a lack of needed skills and a young generation of employees who want exciting, meaningful work and career growth opportunities.
Conversations need to take place with your CHRO about:
- digital initiatives that automate tedious, time-consuming tasks
- a deeper commitment to talent development through mentorships, etc.
- more transparency about internal career progression
- how to head off turnover costs (e.g., absenteeism metrics might indicate disengagement, overwork or personal struggles)
- identifying high-performing employees and ways to engage them
- compensation and benefits trends. Is giving an average performer a little extra pay and training less expensive than making a new hire? Should salary and other incentives be creatively combined based on an employee’s performance?
- how to ensure departments are budgeting properly for new-hire requisitions.
Commit to being an effective communicator
CFOs who can tell a good story and adeptly translate data into insights everybody can understand will have a major advantage in the current climate.
Some specific tips that McCullough had:
- Tailor your message to whoever your audience is by learning beforehand what data sets will speak to them.
- To avoid going overboard with numbers, choose a small bucket of relevant metrics that emphasize the point you’re trying to make.
- Where possible, combine data points to create business insights. Numbers need clear context on the why and how behind them.
- Complement your narrative with dashboard visuals that display relevant KPIs (make sure you have the tools to produce compelling visuals), and
- Connect what has happened with what it means for the future.
ResourcefulFinancePro Insiders can check out “120 Proven Communications Tips for Today’s CFO” by clicking here.
When it comes to communicating with investors:
- Keep strong relationships through frequent and thorough updates.
- Communicate both wins and losses, and
- Always keep in mind investors can make introductions to potential customers, suppliers or even pre-sales beta testers of your product or service.