The 5 Biggest CFO Priorities for 2019

Blog - 15 Feb 2019

A CFO carries tremendous responsibility within a company. As the head of financial issues, the CFO must create policy, make spending decisions, cut costs and spur company growth. Ultimately, a company’s financial vitality comes from the wisdom, knowledge, skills, and leadership of the CFO. This means that the CFO priorities for 2019 have a huge impact on the entire company. In order to prepare for a successful year, it is important to define your CFO priorities today.

CFO Priorities for 2019

Priority #1 – Driven By Data

Technology has improved many areas of operations within most business models. However, the impact is about more than just production or customer service. Instead, technology has allowed companies to record and track data in more ways than ever. This data can provide a wealth of opportunities, which is why it ranks high among CFO priorities for 2019.

It is important for a CFO to realize the ways data can be used. Then, the CFO must enact policies that embrace change based on that data. This is a process better known as analytics. In recent blogs, we have looked at both how spend analytics and big data analytics are impacting procurement.

Analytics looks at the relevant data and discerns its impact on the business model. The importance of analytics in decision-making across businesses is growing all of the time. According to The Deloitte Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey 2018, spend analysis and research is the area of procurement that is expected to be most impacted by technology over the next 5 years.

 

CFO Priorities for 2019

 

If you do not have familiarity with analytics as a CFO, then 2019 is the perfect time to start educating yourself. Better still, use 2019 to teach your employees about analytics. This way, every decision at every level is informed by the data. This ensures that decisions are made to the benefit of the company for maximum success.

Priority #2 – Better Integration

When you talk about CFO priorities for 2019, it is easy to focus solely on the financial side of the business. However, one of the critical trends this year is about integration throughout the company. Instead of sectioning off different parts of the company, the emerging model is about improving communication and streamlining fluidity between divisions. You should no longer view your role as CFO as insulated. Instead, look to collaborate with other executives in 2019. A CFO has always been the key player to offer financial strategy to the company. However, with better integration throughout the company, the CFO can take on a more cohesive leadership role.

In a recent blog, we discussed how CFO and CPO relations can fuel strategic procurement. Through more open communications with different departments, CFOs can better understand roadblocks, talent shortages and areas for development that exist and how best to optimize working capital across the business.

As more people in the company understand the financial side of things, there will be more unity throughout the executive branch, which will naturally create a shared purpose among all employees. This kind of cohesion can improve the workflow, spark creativity, provide clarity and more.

Priority #3 – Harnessing Technology

By 2019, all companies have embraced technology on some level. If you are a CFO, then you better already be adept with the impact of technology on your daily operations. However, if you really want to get ahead in 2019, then you should look to the next layer of technological advances and consider their implications.

With technologies like robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and cloud sharing, it is easier than ever to have technology work for you. Look into how artificial intelligence can change the way financial tracking occurs within your company. Consider the way you can use cloud solutions to share data and promote a culture of analytics. Robotic Process Automation is also saving companies both time and money, with the removal of manual, time-consuming tasks, as explained in our recent eBook.

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These technologies already exist. It is up to you as CFO to leverage them to your benefit. Sometimes, this may require some technical training in order to keep yourself up to date. However, as the CFO, it is your responsibility to harness this technology for your company’s gain.

Priority #4 – Shifted Hiring Practices

A CFO is only as good as the people you employ. This is why hiring practices have always been a priority. Nonetheless, among other CFO priorities for 2019, you should think about shifting the way you look at potential candidates. While it is always good to see if applicants have relevant experience, good performance, and strong training in financial issues, you should also spend more time looking at their technological prowess.

You want people who know how to use the latest technologies. You need people on your team who can use the data successfully. Plus, you should try to get candidates who know how to adapt to the inevitable changes in technology. As technology evolves rapidly, you need employees who can keep up with the changes.

However, a recent report by Deloitte highlighted that 51% of procurement leaders feel that the current level of ability within their team is not sufficient to deliver against their procurement strategies.

CFO Priorities for 2019

CFOs must play a role in addressing the lack of knowledge around technologies and data, both of which are becoming extremely important for financial teams. This may involve supporting the training of current staff or hiring new staff.

Priority #5 – Mitigating Risk

The markets have been unpredictable in 2018, and there is no clear sense of how 2019 will play out. That is why mitigating risk is a relevant priority for 2019. However, what does risk management look like in 2019? It means being creative with your financial solutions. It means looking at new ways to cut costs and balance budgets. It also relates back to how you use technology.

Embracing analytics is about more than turning a profit. Analytics is also a critical method of mitigating your risk. With data, you can see your weaknesses and your strengths. You can predict financial trends better, which can allow you to make more informed decisions.

These tactics are crucial to protect your company from the up and down nature of the modern market. With all of these facts considered, it is clear that while there are many CFO priorities for 2019, mitigating risk should be one of your top ones.

 

These priorities obviously only tell part of the story. A CFO has countless responsibilities, many that may not be covered here. However, as you look to set the tone for 2019, these particular priorities can help you guide your company. After all, it is only with the leadership of the CFO that a company can truly hope to make 2019 a successful year.

Allow analytics to define your decisions. Break down workplace barriers to create cohesion. Harness technology to keep your edge. Seek employees who can keep up with these changes. All of these factors can help you mitigate risk for a successful year ahead.

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Posted by

Mary Duffy

Group Financial Controller

Posted by

Mary Duffy

Group Financial Controller