FEBRUARY 9, 2023
The role of the Chief Financial Officer has evolved over the past few years, and now more than ever, financial leaders are seen as key enablers for both growth and innovation. In response to the changing world of work and rapid acceleration of business transformation, many CFOs are deviating from their traditional roles to become a strategic partner across corporate functions to ensure the current and future needs of their customers, partners and employees are fulfilled.
As economic uncertainty and the anticipation of a potential recession weigh heavily on business leaders, CFOs shared with us that inflation, rising wages and supply chain issues are the top economic pressures they are facing in 2023 — from our recent Community Pulse Survey on the economy. Our findings are consistent with Gartner research where these three factors were identified as the top challenges for CFOs this year and dubbed a “Triple Squeeze” affecting profitability.
With this top of mind, these are three themes on the CFO agenda in 2023:
- Developing Adaptable Business Strategies Amid Persistent Inflation
As inflation cuts the stretch of the dollar short, CFOs have the difficult task of prioritizing investments in the areas of the business they need to protect, while planning where they can make cuts. Additionally, we expect to see CFOs collaborating with their cross-functional peers on effective cost optimization strategies for each area of the business.
- Strategies To Attract and Retain Talent While Protecting Margins
From the Great Resignation to skill shortages to demand for rising wages, CFOs frequently named talent as a top concern in our Community Pulse Survey last fall. We should see financial leaders collaborating closely with their peers in human resources on everything from competitive compensation packages to rethinking how they invest in the workforce for a mutual benefit to both employees and the business. As gaps for critical competencies continue to grow, it’s vital for CFOs to include employee development opportunities as a part of these conversations.
- Using Actionable Data to Forecast and Drive Organizational Growth
During times of economic uncertainty, it can be difficult to accurately forecast and prepare cash flow for the future. CFOs must assess the reliability of their data and forecasting tools, partnering with technology and data and analytics leaders for their expertise in this area.
Cross-functional collaboration is a trend that flows throughout each of these themes, and one partnership is especially noteworthy to call out - the CFO and CIO partnership. Alignment between these leaders is essential for driving effective digitalization and growth for a business, and according to Gartner, “Collaborative CFOs and CIOs are not only aligned on the financial impact of technology, but they’re also on the same page about how financial management needs to adapt to support enterprise digitalization. Your organization can’t respond to the triple squeeze and lead with digital if this relationship falters.”
Our CFO communities openly share their priorities, successes and lessons learned. And soon, we will be releasing the results of our annual Leadership Perspective Survey which establishes the top priorities, goals and challenges for our CFO communities for 2023, informing the agenda at our upcoming gatherings throughout the year.
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