In a recent global survey, FTI Consulting, in conjunction with CFO Dive, asked senior finance executives around the globe about the major risk factors that would impact their financial management strategies and operational tactics in 2023.
Lingering inflation and the cost of capital were top of mind for the majority of CFOs surveyed, (77.3% and 76.7% respectively). However, in the face of rising input costs, the ability to raise prices was a significant concern for 70.4% of survey respondents. This was followed by lingering supply chain challenges (67.1%), ongoing talent shortages (66.8%), enhanced competition (66.6%), and concerns over potential cyber-attacks (65.8%).
Against this backdrop, CEOs and their boards will be relying even more heavily on finance leaders to help them protect the bottom line. CFOs can expect that boards and senior management will seek greater accuracy in financial performance, cash flow, and liquidity predictions.
Yet the survey uncovered some significant challenges facing CFOs’ ability to deliver on expectations. A common challenge was the availability and access to the required data to improve forecasting accuracy in support of FP&A. Many finance executives (45%) said a lack of operational insights made forecasting difficult, along with uncertain demand conditions (45%), the potential impacts of further supply chain disruptions (43%), and changing contract terms (42%).
Top 4 CFO Agenda items in 2023
1. Streamline operations
For many companies in 2023, managing financial performance will be tied directly to streamlining operations to gain efficiencies, gain better insights from FP&A, and improve overall forecasting accuracy. As a result, over one-half (51%) of finance leaders said their role going forward will require a greater focus on technology implementation in 2023.
2. Upgrade financial systems and data insights
Forty-seven percent will be investing in technology, 45% will be improving analytics capabilities, and 44% will be improving forecasting accuracy. Looking deeper, 40.8% plan to upgrade ERP and BI technology, and 39.1% plan to implement enterprise performance management/FP&A solutions, indicating a need to strengthen forecasting capabilities and financial consolidation and enhance integration across enterprise architecture.
3. Focus on talent and talent supportive technology
Meanwhile, finance talent remains in high demand, and 74.3% of respondents cited talent shortages as having a very significant to medium impact on the efficiency of their finance organization. It’s therefore not surprising that the vast majority of finance executives (94.1%) will be spending more or the same focus on talent attraction and retention in 2023. Within the finance organization, financial reporting/compliance, finance technology, and accounting/controls were the three most sought-after talent areas.
Yet, three years after the start of the pandemic, companies are still struggling with a hybrid work model. Across the globe, 59.2% of companies were still operating in a hybrid fashion, with 69.4% indicating the same or more remote working level in the months to come. Technology emerged as the top response when asked about the top challenges faced with facilitating a remote workforce. Even with the variety of solution providers quick to market, CFOs are still grappling with the state of solutions to enable effective and efficient remote workers, including collaboration, training, and maintaining productivity.
4. ESG reporting and control
ESG remains an evolving issue and more than half of our respondents indicated that they would be spending more time on ESG reporting and controls in 2023 and beyond. Nearly ninety percent of respondents said they would spend more or the same focus on ESG issues. Additionally, 46% of the largest companies feel they are under extreme pressure to improve their approaches to ESG and sustainability.
Three hundred and four responses were collected from executives in North America, APAC, and EMEA Over 86% held the title of either CFO, VP of Finance, Chief Accounting Officer, or Director of Finance. The remainder held the title of controller, treasurer, or internal auditor.
The greatest number of total responses (32.9%) represented companies with annual global revenues between USD 1 billion and USD 5 billion. Therefore, the high-level results will be slightly skewed towards companies within that range. The remainder originated from companies between USD 100 million to USD 500 million (21.7%), USD 500 million and USD 1 billion (26%), and more than USD 5 billion (19.4%).
FTI Consulting is an independent global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. FTI Consulting professionals, located in all major business centers throughout the world, work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and opportunities. ©2022 FTI Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved. www.fticonsulting.com
To read the full report, please visit: https://www.fticonsulting.com/global-cfo-survey-2023