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What’s important to CFOs in 2022

Six topics shaping the finance leader agenda

The CFO’s guide to preparing for the metaverse

As the metaverse moves beyond experimentation, CFOs will need to remain nimble. According to PwC’s 2022 US Metaverse Survey, two-thirds of business executives say their companies are actively engaged with the metaverse, and 82% expect it to be part of “business as usual” within three years or less. Just over half have a designated role focused on metaverse activities.

For CFOs, this means prioritizing investments in the right technology and talent to power your growing metaverse strategy. Consider, too, new pricing strategies that can maximize the revenue from virtual goods and services, and access to virtual experiences or virtual channels to sell physical goods and services.

CFO 2022 Agenda - Arriving next - Building trust and purpose

Accelerate transformation

A vast majority of CFOs are investing in technologies like cloud and analytics to drive growth. In sharing the company’s cloud value story, the CFO can play a leadership role alongside the CEO. Finance leaders can also pinpoint capital commitments, helping drive strategies for long-term growth.

Another lingering priority: addressing and optimizing fractured supply chains. Success means transforming linear supply chains into autonomous supply chain ecosystems: a more diverse supply chain, switching to close-to-home sources and a buildup of inventory as a stopgap can protect against future disruptions.

Looking ahead:

With a growing focus on business process standardization, long-term strategies for using and protecting data require enhanced digitization. Enterprise digital transformation needs advanced analytics, artificial intelligence applications and cloud technology, the backbone of advanced financial tools. CFOs may also need to plan for the cost of digital assets, new business opportunities created by the metaverse, and digital upskilling and mentoring as people functions combine with tech.

48% of CFOs plan to accelerate digital transformation initiatives to maintain or increase margins in the next 12 months. - PwC Pulse Survey, January 2022

Build trust and purpose

Today’s CFOs are expected to build trust with their stakeholders to deliver better, sustained outcomes—and lead on both business and societal issues. When senior leadership aligns around their customers’ and employees’ top priorities, you can help focus the entire organization on the most important trust initiatives. CFOs also have a unique opportunity to tie fiscal responsibility to transparency.

Looking ahead:

When it comes to transforming trust into action, CFOs have found themselves at the intersection of purpose and practice. Company-wide efforts—particularly regarding transparency, assurance, accounting and reporting insights—are now considered to be within the CFO’s expanding domain of accountability, while areas like cybersecurity and data privacy need funding to provide preemptive action.

87% of business leaders say customers highly trust their companies when only about 30% do. – PwC, Consumer Intelligence Series on Trust, June 2022

Transform your workforce strategy

The realities of the Great Resignation, new working models and changing workforce expectations demand CFO attention. People are the heartbeat of organizations: they are the driving force of company value, and it’s critical to treat them like valued customers to better retain and recruit them. Forward-looking finance leaders can collaborate with CHROs to show workers they matter, stemming potential productivity losses.

Looking ahead:

As hybrid models continue to evolve, collaboration between the CFO and CHRO is key to embedding workforce strategy into business strategy. To return to growth, CFOs will need to understand what employees want and need and create an employee experience that differentiates their companies.

83% of CFOs say hiring and retaining talent will be the key to growth in 2022.  - PwC Pulse Survey, January 27, 2022

Enable growth

Despite inflation, 2022 is set to be a strong year for dealmaking, but continued disruptions—namely, market volatility and geopolitical tensions—are weighing on business’ near-term outlook. Some companies are seizing the opportunity to reshape their business, reassess their portfolio against their core strategy and drive transformation. Forward-looking strategies—acquisitions, divestitures and IPOs—all have the potential to supercharge your growth agenda.

Looking ahead:

Forecasting future revenue amid multiple variables requires accurate data to provide a guide through turbulent times. In today’s economy there is less margin for error, so good planning means leveraging data effectively, updating valuations, and factoring in the rising cost of capital. The uncertainty can be a challenge, but it can also present an opportunity for growth and strategic advantage.

48% of CFOs say building predictive models and scenario analysis capabilities for financial planning and forecasting is a top priority for 2022. - PwC Pulse Survey, January 2022

Navigate tax, risk and regulation

Today’s increasingly turbulent risk environment, coupled with ongoing tension in Washington and tax policy uncertainty, means that CFOs will need to proactively plan for potentially complex scenarios. The key to a finance leader’s success? Working with their tax and risk leaders to educate other business leaders, the board and the rest of the company and position their enterprise to respond to new laws and increasing regulations.

Looking ahead:

The volatile geopolitical environment is further exacerbating pandemic-induced supply constraints, heightening cyber risks, introducing rapidly evolving sanctions and putting safety and humanity at the forefront of all decisions. Businesses can use predictive analysis to anticipate the potential impact on their growth outlook with modeling scenarios.

11% or more amount of revenue growth companies are almost 2x likely to project when risk management is prioritized as a strategic organizational capability. - PwC's Global Risk Survey, May 2022.

Take action on ESG

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues continue to dominate the list of priorities for business leaders. Seen by stakeholders as a window into future performance, companies that emphasize their ESG strategies as a business imperative will lead the way. Recognizing the importance of telling a cohesive story of their company’s impact, CFOs are focusing their ESG efforts around consistent reporting metrics and frameworks. Adding rigor to your reporting can represent a major step forward, particularly in light of the SEC’s recent proposal to require companies to disclose climate-related risks.

Looking ahead:

Businesses can take their ESG strategies to the next level by differentiating between their environmental, social and governance components. CFOs should examine and carefully consider how each informs the enterprise’s overall strategy, operations and reporting.

59% of CFOs say ESG and sustainability will be integral to longer-term planning by the end of 2022. - PwC Pulse Survey, January 2022

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