While cyber-security remains top-of-mind among chief financial officers, profitability is taking a back seat to technology transformation, supply chain and operational challenges, according to a survey released September 18 by Jefferson Wells, a professional services firm, part of Manpower Group.
“Being a successful leader in finance now is less about what you know, and more about developing the right team to drive progress and adapt to a fast-changing environment,” said Michelle Search, Jefferson Wells’ national practice leader, finance & accounting. “The best CFOs will continually expand their own skills and deepen the strength of those around them to be successful.”
• Cyber-security remains the top concern for CFOs. CFOs from companies with 500 or fewer employees are less confident in their cyber-security prevention, particularly the ability to prevent a breach.
• CFOs are concerned their organizations are not sufficiently focused on economic instability and its effect on the business. CFOs must balance operational efficiency and new technology with profitability in an uncertain economy. Many expect their financial and technical skills to grow in importance over the next two years.
• Smaller companies continue to deploy third-party assistance to comply with tax, finance, and cyber-security regulation. Larger companies are more likely to have these skills in-house, but one in three are looking for assistance with emerging regulations on climate change and diversity, equity and inclusion.
• CFOs are less concerned about recruiting talent than they were in 2022. To offset skills shortages, CFOs plan to up-skill existing teams and continue to invest in technologies such as AI and analytics automation.
“While CFOs continue to advance key strategic initiatives, in the current environment they need to find ways to fund such initiatives with cost savings elsewhere,” said Jack McGinnis, CFO of ManpowerGroup. “All of this is occurring while execution of regulatory and compliance agendas expands for cyber-security and ESG advancements. Companies need efficient processes and third-party partners to execute such programs in the current environment.”
The survey was conducted during the late Spring and early Summer of 2023, with Jefferson Wells asking CFOs in companies with annual revenues of more than $50 million to share insights into the priorities of their role and their organizations.
For the complete 2023 CFO Priorities Survey results, visit: https://www.jeffersonwells.com/en/cfo-priorities-survey-report-2023
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