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As the complexity and scope of the chief financial officer (CFO) role grows, so too does the finance leader’s influence on your company’s growth trajectory. And while fears of an imminent recession may be fading, it’s wise to exercise caution. A brewing risk outlook — including potentially abrupt geopolitical and public policy shifts — promises more volatility. With a unique bird's-eye view of your company's financial health, CFOs are positioned to drive a nimble business strategy underpinned by a solid foundation structured on risk analysis and profitability — whatever the year ahead may hold.
The role of the CFO has become one of the most complex and demanding in the C-suite. From financial expertise to strategic decision-making to risk and stakeholder management, successful CFOs should possess a diverse skill set to help guide companies through ever more complex business landscapes and financial and regulatory environments.
Now, with technology powering much of business innovation and transformation, finance leaders are juggling a packed agenda. These demands will require you to call upon equal parts business savvy, strategic insight and tech experience as you work with your C-suite peers.
Amid persistent economic uncertainty, the value of a strong CFO can’t be overstated. No longer confined to financial reporting, savvy finance leaders can harness the power of modern data, predictive analytics and financial intelligence. Your ability to foster cross-functional alignment and enable the business to be guided by data-backed decision-making can position your company for successful outcomes.
Top-performing CFOs recognize the need for a self-funding budget to help drive enterprise transformation. These CFOs don’t hesitate to make strategic investments — introducing new revenue streams, entering new markets and integrating new technologies like GenAI — in their business models. Embracing technology can improve performance and productivity while maintaining or reducing costs. Tech tools can also enhance the return on investment for major expenditures, while prioritizing assessment of the total cost of risk at multiple levels — in business, programs, technology, data, security and controls.
To fund investments, CFOs are turning to technology to enhance productivity and reduce costs. To speed adoption, connect with your chief information officer and chief transformation officer to align budget priorities, integrate strategic planning decisions and respond swiftly to market changes.
Growing environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting requirements have created a sense of climate urgency among executives, including finance leaders. While complying with these requirements may require a complex transition to investor-grade reporting, experience in accounting and controls will be critical to a seamless transition.
Delivering reliable ESG reporting is just the beginning. Nearly a third of CFOs are analyzing how climate change scenarios could impact financial performance. Utilize your unique view and tools for forecasting to integrate sustainability into your business strategy, analyze risk and explore opportunities for growth through sustainable products and solutions.
While you’re preparing for proposed and enacted ESG disclosure requirements, think long term. Sustainable strategies can deliver growth, viability for the future, return on investment and a positive impact on society — all while striving to meet decarbonization and other ESG goals. Consider also how tax incentives, renewable energy and green financing can help fund your sustainability strategies.
As the role of the CFO expands, so does the influence of the finance function. With data volumes exploding, finance leaders are becoming data stewards. Using advanced analytics and cloud technology, CFOs can drive strategic insights to improve forecasting, better manage cash and even rethink organizational structures.
But talent with the necessary strategy and tech skills to help guide the enterprise through uncertainty is getting harder to come by. Demand is particularly high for those with skill sets like data analysis and forecasting — and knowledge of the tech that powers them.
Successful finance transformations start with people. To get there, reimagine roles and reskill staff to hone analytical capabilities, considering where you may need to attract specialized talent or explore a managed services model. Technical upskilling is important, of course, but investments that improve non-technical capabilities are just as critical — like data-driven storytelling, communication and innovation.
As a primary point of contact for investors, analysts and other stakeholders, finance leaders should be able to effectively communicate financial performance and the company’s strategic direction. As risks — including geopolitical tensions, digital advancements, regulatory complexity, cyber breaches and changing consumer expectations — multiply and converge, CFOs and the rest of the executive team may need to practice greater agility.
When your internal and external stakeholders know they can count on disciplined, transparent and accurate communication and controls, you send a clear message that you and your finance team have risk considerations versus profitability well in hand.
Are you fostering a culture of trust and resilience — both in your function and across the enterprise? By prioritizing funding for risk management, cybersecurity, governance and controls you can help drive a culture founded on transparency, accountability and trust.