Finance departments are experiencing a shift due to a changing business climate where technology is becoming a profound game changer. It is the expectation in the current ecosystem that CFOs should lead the charge, taking on a growing list of responsibilities that come with responding by putting transformative initiatives into action.
One obvious challenge CFOs face is understanding modern technology and bringing businesses up to date by implementing ERP systems that can help improve efficiency while driving business growth. Making the task at hand even more difficult are modest budgets and minimal time to get advanced systems up and running.
The role of the CFO is evolving. The top concern for CFOs, according to a 2017 survey conducted by PwC, is Growth Strategy in a four-year forecast. There are new state-of-the-art tools to help drive the necessary change to affect top-line and bottom-line growth. Modern CFOs are turning to cloud computing and financial management software that features built-in data analytics, process automation, and artificial intelligence.
With senior finance executives spending more time on data analysis and predictive analytics, it’s imperative that CFOs boost operations with digital technologies — it ultimately has significant impact on business success.
CEO’s Go-To Executive
A CFO must be trustworthy and a partner the CEO is comfortable sharing important information with. Whether the CEO is brainstorming strategic initiatives or weighing personal-professional struggles, the CFO must be able to connect by sharing certain values and ideals, but also think differently enough to provide an unbiased perspective from an alternative angle.
Whereas the CEO creates the corporate vision, it is the CFO who puts it to action. The financial leader must truly understand the importance of culture, brand and strategy, and work actively with the greater team to justify investments. In today’s business world, a CFO must have a strong EQ (emotional intelligence), as well as IQ, to lead businesses boldly into the future.
An astute CFO serves as advisor to the senior executive team. With in-depth understanding of the market opportunity, strategy, and business model of an organization, this person can provide a unique perspective across all areas of the organization.
Like the CEO, the CFO is most likely the role that will view the big picture, having vision into an array of departments with focus on performance. To handle this most effectively, it helps for the CFO to realize themselves as first a business executive and then a financial executive; exposure to both the finance and accounting sides of the business give this role further insight. Strategy is front and center to a company, and it requires strong leaders to ensure goals are met.
Putting data, information, and insights to action is what a modern CFO does best — creating scalable systems and processes that can be measured through KPIs (key performance indicators) helps determine performance trends. Once the data is understood, the CFO can implement strategies that can lead to improvement.
Saying goodbye to outdated Excel spreadsheets is a must for today’s financial leaders. Moving away from the report card and toward true insights is the way to achieve business growth; CFOs are leading this charge. Speaking the language of the business and understanding key drivers of business are typically more significant than what shows up on a balance sheet. Modern systems offer cutting-edge technology that can be leveraged to better present important information and data. Dashboards can be created to give the C-Suite and departments all they need at one easy click of a button.
To take a business into the future, a CFO should understand the power of technology solutions and what they can do to impact growth. It takes acquiring a product mindset — are products engaging, easy to use, and do they deliver the desired business outcome?
Once a CFO has become an educated technology consumer, there will be more chance for advancement within the organization. When financial leaders push the envelope and insist upon creative solutions that can empower employees, a company can truly make strides in a positive direction. When a staff is armed with an ERP system that gives them the visibility and insight they need to act quickly and with accuracy, results are seen company-wide. The CFO who thinks ahead of the curve will know what to ask for and also what’s possible — taking a business to its next level of growth.
Innovating for Growth
It’s a challenging time to be a CFO — but it’s also an optimistic time. Financial leaders who are skilled and willing to adapt to the changing business environment can truly make a difference within the organizations they work for. A sophisticated, natively-built system, such as Acumatica’s Cloud ERP gives executives the tools they need to succeed. As an Acumatica partner, we can proactively recommend new ideas that will boost efficiency and profitability. Contact us today to get started!
Learn more about the benefits of ERP software for CFOs.