Another recent survey of CFOs confirms the ongoing trend of CFOs as key strategic leaders as well as finance leaders of their companies. The nationwide results mirror what we observe here in the San Francisco Bay Area with small- and medium-sized businesses.
The survey found that 40 percent CFOs say that strategic planning is one of their top priorities. CFOs are spending more and more of their scarce time on strategy as opposed to just finance and accounting issues. CFOs are spending more than a third of their time on strategy.
Traditional finance responsibilities like increasing cash flow and cost reduction still rank slightly higher than strategy in terms of priorities.
More than ever, CFOs are driving the development and usage of operating metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). This is part of the long-term evolution of CFOs leading the charge on using both financial and non-financial metrics.
Risk management continues to also be a top priority for CFOs especially in trying to “… reconcile their risk management strategy with their business strategy."
The adoption of new technology (e.g., cloud computing, advanced analytics) continues to frustrate CFOs as the issues of managing costs, legacy systems, and “seamless business integration” are the primary barriers.
In terms of investment priorities, operational improvement is absolutely the biggest area. Investments in sales and marketing are the next most important investment area.
“The survey further reveals an incongruity around sales and marketing, with only 14 percent of CFOs at larger companies expecting to invest in this area, while almost half (48 percent) of their peers at small and mid-sized businesses expect to do the same.”