The CFO’s Top Priorities List for the Next Six to 12 Months

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As CFO, it’s critically important to keep a pulse on what’s going on beyond your own firm so that the business doesn’t get left behind or caught off guard by changing conditions or trends. This includes understanding where fellow CFOs are focused and what’s happening in other finance organizations.

As part of a joint survey, Tesorio and Tipalti recently asked over 200 CFOs to share their top finance priorities over the next six to 12 months in order to achieve their business goals and objectives. Here’s a rundown of their top five priorities.

1. Managing Cash Flow

The COVID-19 pandemic altered the financial landscape for many firms, so it’s not surprising that managing cash flow was the top priority for 35.6% of CFOs. As McKinsey notes, “Amid the pandemic, boardrooms have shifted their focus from earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to cash.”

Digging a little deeper, CFOs specifically revealed their top priorities for optimizing cash flow and working capital:

  • Streamlining internal processes and monthly close: 24.5%
  • Integrating cash flow reporting with balance sheet and P&L: 21.3%
  • Automating cash flow forecasting and reporting: 21.3%
  • Negotiating with vendors and suppliers: 21.3%

2. Adopting New Technologies

Next on the CFO list of priorities, 30.4% plan to implement the latest technology, which makes sense. Automating and digitizing finance functions is the most effective way CFOs can keep up with the growing demand for real-time information requests from business leaders looking to drive enterprise value, which 76.7% of CFOs in our survey say has become routine.

In fact, 64% of CFOs said that given what they know today, they would have invested more aggressively in finance technology two to five years ago, and 58.7% said they’ve accelerated its adoption in the last 12 months.

3. Cost Analysis and Reduction

With McKinsey also noting that the pandemic “revealed the critical importance of cash excellence—a set of best practices that enable prudent cash and liquidity management,” it’s not surprising that 26.8% of CFOs plan to be more deliberative about how and where they spend money and cutting where possible.

One area where 79.9% of CFOs see a clear opportunity is reducing manual, time-consuming, and error-prone processes in the finance function. And 73% say that their finance function will be proactively identifying areas for optimizing costs and managing risks.

4. Hiring New Talent

CFOs will need talented finance professionals to help them make their top three priorities a reality, which explains why 24.2% of them say hiring new talent is their next top priority. Just over 19% also recognize the need to re-skill existing talent, which took the number 6 priority spot.

5. Scenario Planning

Slicing and dicing information based on what ifs rounded out the top five with 21.6% indicating that scenario planning was on their immediate radar. Not only that, 43.4% of CFOs say that planning, along with forecasting and budgeting, would benefit the most from advanced technology.

See the Difference Technology Can Make

Interestingly, these priorities are all interdependent, but none of them can truly be actualized without priority number 2—adopting new technologies. Let Tesorio show you the difference technology can make.

For more results from our survey, download the Executive Summary: CFOs Drive Business Value.