Top Priorities for Finance Leaders 2023

27 March 2023

12 Apr

​Much discussion has concerned the chief financial officer’s (CFO) evolving function and duties. There is a lot for advanced finance leaders to deal with, from social and regulatory efficiency to personnel management. If you’re a CFO who needs help figuring out where to begin or a C-suite executive who wants to assist your finance executives in easing into their new positions, here’s a useful guide to getting things started.

Financial leaders are required to be key enablers of corporate success, not merely the leader of the finance department, whether by concentrating on strategic alliances, reviewing technology, or trying to fulfill revenue and profit targets.

Because of the development of the CFO function, relatively few of these executives are solely focused on finance. Hence you should be aware of CFO top priorities.

The main challenges for CFOs

Regarding what will cause CFOs trouble sleeping in 2023, huge challenges emerge from all sides. We want to provide you with CFO priorities 2023 expects, but first let’s look through five CFO challenges 2023.

Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

CFOs have difficulty finding personnel with the necessary capabilities to manage their teams. The talents and experiences CFOs demand from their employees have evolved as their positions and duties have expanded.

Excellent communication skills are becoming increasingly vital for CFOs and their teams. The necessity to reach an agreement and communicate policy across numerous channels—email, texting, in-person, and digitally—permeates the financial department. CFOs feel there is huge space for growth in this area; they are educating current employees and emphasizing it for future hires.

Incorporate Diverse Data Sets

In 2023, finance industry leaders will have to finally face the issues provided by legacy data. The agility required of firms in 2022 heightened the requirement for timely, precise data to assist decision-making. Unifying necessary data prevents extracting information from disparate databases and spreadsheets. In addition, a unified data source speeds up reporting and decreases the inefficiencies and mistakes that come with manual operations.

This recurring issue for public corporations will affect public and private enterprises of all sizes in 2023, for instance, when requesting loans. A side effect of unified data is smoother audit engagements and cheaper overall expenses for business services and the financial department.

Combine Automation and Technology

Many firms adopted technology in unusual ways in 2022, successfully boosting revenue and profit while maintaining their workers engaged remotely. Additional technological initiatives to drive automation will be the major CFO pain points this year and beyond.

While two-thirds of CFOs are responsible for process automation, almost the same amount think they need to be more competent to boost technology, which disturbs them given most believe financial management software improves performance properly.

One root cause of this difference is that change-averse employees might stymie adoption. CFOs must emphasize that automating regular processes frees finance personnel to undertake more creative work and that the insights provided by automated intelligence may help the firm prosper.

Invest in Cybersecurity and Fraud Prevention

As part of the CFO’s responsibility to be the business’s fiscal guardian, these individuals are frequently in charge of risk management, which includes detecting and improving cybersecurity. CFOs understand the importance of protecting sensitive data and the possible expenses that cyberattacks might incur.

The predicted permanency of remote workers adds a new layer for CFOs to control possible fraud and cybersecurity concerns, making cloud computing more appealing due to its security benefits.

Empower a Remote Workforce

The most-cited challenges for CFOs with remote workforces are the potential for employee burnout and the need to rebuild the culture. While working from home during 2020, most CFOs and, by extension, their staff increased the number of hours they worked to 50 to 60 per week—or more, Brainyard research shows.

Exacerbated by the blurring lines between work and home life, this workload can cause unsustainable stress. The potentially lasting negative impact for finances and on the finance team culture is a key challenge for the leader financial team, especially as business picks up again.

CFO Planning for 2023: What Finance Leaders Must Prioritize

CFOs can enable their teams to unleash the promise of linked data and sophisticated analytics to foresee trends and situations better, enhance operational performance, minimize risk, and navigate a complex business environment by incorporating tech-powered transformation. Let’s find out what the CFO top priorities are.

1. Handle Economic Insecurity

Faced with extended market volatility, CFOs need to focus on developing forecasting analytics and enhancing scenario analysis techniques to assess the impact of the turbulent business climate on their bottom line.

Nonetheless, despite a confluence of economic conditions such as high inflation and increasing interest rates, CFOs (leaders financial) are confident that they can strengthen organizational resilience and continue on pace to meet long-term growth targets.

Advice for the future:

Being a CFO, you should prepare your firms for potentially complicated risk situations such as an impending recession, inflation, geopolitical upheaval, and heightened cybersecurity risks. You may predict the possible implications of market risks by embracing more flexible, data-driven strategic alternatives. You also have the chance to actively foster operational effectiveness through cross-functional cooperation and partnership to position the firm to adapt to new policies and escalating requirements.

2. Enable Growth

Growth is conceivable in difficult times, although CFOs are expected to be considerably more careful in their expenditures, relying on extensive scenario planning and modeling to support strategic capital decisions. Many CFOs claim to have balanced price inflation with long-term client demand, fine-tuned their pay schemes, and even invested in strategic recruiting.

Advice for the future:

Despite economic challenges, leader financial corporations are keeping track of long-term growth objectives. However, with less room for error, spending more judiciously with a long-term goal in mind is vital. As a CFO, collaborate closely with your teammates across the C-suite to revise budgets and pricing models.

3. Take Care of ESG

Environmental, social, and governance challenges continue to top corporate executives’ priority lists. CFOs may add rigor to help the organization achieve investor-grade ESG reporting and begin to connect financial and nonfinancial reporting ecosystems by designing policies, processes, and controls for climate data gathering.

Advice for the future:

CFOs are well-positioned to assist their firms in making decisions on business environmental objectives, maximizing benefits, and meeting disclosure obligations. Leaders financial company should decide for themselves which systems and procedures to implement, what data to gather and analyze, and which parties to include.

Increase the speed of transformation

Most CFOs are investing in growth technology such as cloud computing and analytics; however, they will also require individuals with particular skill sets. The analytical skills and abilities of a finance staff to swiftly extract insights from financial data are just as vital as the digital technologies used to support strategic decision-making.

Advice for the future:

​​CFOs should set the tone for regulating and digitalizing business processes in financial management, finance leadership, and beyond. Modern analytics, artificial intelligence apps, and cloud computing, as the foundation of enhanced financial tools, are required for corporate digitalization. Finance leaders may budget for the expense of digital products, in addition to digital upskilling and mentorship, as people and technology interact.

Enhance strong financial skills

During a financial skills gap, professionals with greater skills and knowledge, notably in data prediction and analysis—and the technology that drives them—are in great demand. Having the correct balance of capabilities on their team, CFOs may drive growth objectives, undertake more accurate analysis and scenario planning, and boost corporate efficiency.

Advice for the future:

Due to financial challenges and a bad financial employment market, CFOs may engage in focused education and training or even selective recruiting for finance modeling, strengthening, analytical, and scenario planning skills. As demand drivers grow more unpredictable, savvy CFOs may represent finance as a quick-thinking business partner capable of working in tandem with other business units.

Build purpose and trust

For CFOs, trust seems to be the new corporate currency, impacting customer satisfaction and purchasing decisions, as well as staff retention. However, it cannot be regarded as a given. To provide better, more sustainable results—and to take a leadership role on corporate and societal concerns—today’s CFO goals are building trust among their stakeholders. CFOs have an additional opportunity to link fiscal responsibility to openness.

Advice for the future:

When it comes to converting trust into action, CFOs are usually considered to be at the crossroads of mission and performance. CFO initiatives within corporations, notably in the areas of transparency, finance, and analytical insights, are now regarded as falling within the CFO’s growing realm of responsibilities. In contrast, issues like security and data protection require money to offer proactive action.

Wrapping Up

CFOs will undoubtedly have a lot on their shoulders in 2023. Many of the most challenging difficulties confronting CFOs are addressed by modern computing solutions.