Is it more challenging to be on the leadership team in your company now than it was 5 years ago? Your answer to that question may be different than that of your peers. In order to gain a better understanding of what our CFO clients are facing we did a little digging into what is happening on the financial frontlines. We discovered some interesting common themes emerging around navigating through this slow economic recovery.
We found a comprehensive survey conducted by Robert Half for which they polled 1,400 CFOs at companies with at least 20 employees across random industries. The survey results they collected were reported as follows:
- Significantly more challenging: 31%
- Somewhat more challenging: 50%
- No change: 14%
- Somewhat less challenging: 3%
- Much less challenging: 1%
- Don’t know: 1%
A combined 81% of CFOs reported their work to be somewhat or significantly more challenging than just five years ago. Most of the respondents attributed the increased challenge to just a few key factors. To no one’s surprise ongoing changes in healthcare insurance and costs topped the list. Higher fixed costs, competition from outside of the U.S. and the need to keep pace with technology rounded out the top four as key factors.
The Bottom Line
The good news to take from this data is that a majority of your peers are confronted with the same challenges on their financial frontlines. The bottom line differentiator appears to be the CFO him/herself. Highly resourceful and flexible financial leaders helped their companies navigate successfully through the downturn. Now the focus is turned to the business of fueling and sustaining top line growth for the long term.
This article from Accenture addresses the top eight issues for CFOs in 2014 and number five on their list is one that directly relates to our work. We agree that investing in the digital revolution is key to being a resourceful and flexible financial leader. Technology now impacts virtually every business in every industry. And mobile technologies in particular are developing at a rapid pace trying to meet the exploding demand. The trend is gaining momentum among CFOs as the Accenture article states:
“In our research with Oracle, for example, 84% of CFOs surveyed are cooperating with the IT function to implement new digital technologies and enhance organizational agility.”
We understand the pace of change is rapid indeed. Our discovery process offers options of consultation, education, auditing and strategy to design the solutions that are best for your unique online needs.
What about you? Is your role as CFO more challenging than it was five years ago? Please share your experience in the comments. We welcome your feedback.