Blog: IT Consulting

The Top 5 Challenges for a CFO in the Changing Tech-Business Landscape

February 18, 2022 - by Synoptek

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The CFO’s role is changing all the time. Today’s CFOs must find new strategies to maintain and grow the company’s performance.

Disruption of traditional business models worldwide has been observed due to rapid technological change, the rise of new markets, empowered consumers and employees, and more active government action. With their rising influence today, the responsibility of the CFO has increased to not only manage disruption but also to identify and invest in new and improved business models, products, and services that will lead to long-term, profitable growth.

The Changing Role of a CFO and the Challenges Associated with It

For several years, CFOs were only concerned with minimizing risk and safeguarding assets. However, today’s CFOs face far more complicated issues than ever before. Hiring and retaining a competent team, managing costs, consolidating data to help the company stay agile, and integrating the latest technologies that promise a significant return on investment are some of the many responsibilities that CFOs have to undertake. Let’s take a look at the top five issues that every CFO is likely to encounter in 2022:

1. Recruiting and Retaining Employees

Building an efficient team is getting increasingly difficult in today’s business world.

Along with comprehensive accounting, auditing, and compliance knowledge, ideal candidates should also have substantial experience and expertise in data and analytics. As a CFO, you’ll want to put together a team of people who are familiar with, and appreciate cutting-edge technology and tools, such as artificial intelligence and data visualization, and who are willing to learn and incorporate new programs and processes as the need arises. Given the importance of technology in finance, some experts believe that instead of hiring financial professionals and speeding them up on data skills, it will be more efficient to hire data scientists and teach them financial principles in 2022.

2. Constantly Updating Digital Skills

As a finance leader, you should strive to improve the skills that are critical to your organization’s future success and the changing industry.

To lead change within your company, you’ll need to update digital skills by providing the right training to your employees. Your staff should have a diverse set of business, analytical, and data skills. As your team is responsible for gathering data, there is a growing need to upskill and use digital technologies and cloud-based services. Finance teams will function more strategically to move the business forward if they have the necessary procedures and skills in place.

To do this, you have to be observant of emerging trends and engage your team in necessary training to keep them updated. Structured e-learning, upskilling and reskilling, leadership development programs, mentoring, job rotation and shadowing, cross-training, industry credential assistance, and tuition reimbursement are some options you can explore.

3. Managing Disparate Systems

Many businesses, especially those that have grown via several acquisitions, use various ERP systems and technology platforms. Companies have invested in technology to solve their problems, but in many cases, still lack the human talent to operate it.

These disconnected systems require extensive manual rekeying of data and are one of the main reasons for issues associated with month-end close. If these systems are managed inefficiently, they can create reports that are over inefficient to make an impact. As a financial leader, you have to step in at the right time to manage these systems or end up having limited capacity or ability to track business metrics and perform root cause analysis.

Unifying disparate data and systems becomes very important for the smooth functioning of the organization and CFO’s can do this with the help of data and analytics integration hubs. These give an all-in-one integrated environment that aids in the discovery, preparation, and analysis of data, resulting in seamless and widespread data unification.

4. Overcoming Cost Challenges

Due to escalating costs of wages, salaries, capital expenditures, regulatory changes, IT and cybersecurity upgrades, as well as external economic risks, costs often surpass income for growing organizations.

CFOs are frequently expected to manage these costs, in response to investor pressures and the competitive aims and strategies of business leadership. Cost-cutting methods to ensure profitability are a difficult balancing act, since deferring capital investments, suggesting layoffs, or switching to lower-quality vendors could have long-term negative consequences for the company.

Increasing visibility through continued cost optimization efforts is the first step toward decreasing overall expenses and it also drives better accountability. Expenses can also be linked to the outcome for individual departments, to help prioritize spending. 

5. Tackling Fraud and Cybersecurity

Because of the CFO’s evolution, you now play a key role in data governance, data flow, and cybersecurity, which means you’ll need to be involved in performance analysis and business model innovation. This new mandate will be critical in uncovering cybersecurity and fraud issues, and hence is a top priority in the face of rising cybersecurity threats. The CFO and the finance department have to gradually increase their attention on fraud, cyber misuse, and data privacy protection.

It is important to realize that emerging technologies are actually decreasing the risk of data breaches. With the cloud, there are enhanced levels of verification, allowing you to secure data more comprehensively and discover new commercial opportunities.

The position and responsibilities of CFOs have evolved significantly over the last decade, from being a transactional executive to a strategic business partner. The next generation of CFOs has far more significant challenges to deal with than the previous generation did. But these obstacles also present several opportunities for CFOs to redefine their company’s overall business goals. Are you ready and equipped to drive excellence in today’s digital era?

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