The role of the CFO looks significantly different in many organizations today than it did just 10 years ago. While the CFO is still expected to optimize finances, they are increasingly asked to engage more closely with other departments. Progressive organizations have found that collaborative internal partnerships drive increased revenue and reduced expenses, leading to a more efficient and effective use of funds.
The CFO Alliance has tracked CFO trends for many years and recently released its annual CFO Sentiment Study for 2017. This report contains some interesting insights into CFO priorities and strategic goals for 2017 if given additional spend. Read on to see if these trends match your philosophy and company culture.
- If CFO’s were given $1M in additional budget to allocate:
o 40% would heavily allocate funds to marketing and sales
o 25% would allocate all funds to improving financial technology
- If CFO’s were given $500K in additional budget to allocate to Marketing:
o 44% reported they would allocate the funds to market research to improve the company’s understanding of addressable markets.
- If CFO’s were given $500K in additional budget to allocate to Sales:
o 38% of CFO’s reported they would focus spend on upgrading talent.
- If CFO’s were given $500K in additional budget to allocate to HR:
o 39% of CFOs reported they would allocated spend on developing in-house training programs.
While CFO’s are more concerned with marketing and market research in 2017, they are also focused on upgrading talent and staff training. These trends point to the fact that CFO’s continue to be more engaged across organizations in the areas that directly impact revenue growth.
A final insight from this report relates to CFO’s desire to upgrade their financial technology. In 2017 39% of the respondents said they would be pursuing a significant upgrade in their company’s information, data, and communications system in 2017, up from 29% in 2016.
Do these results match your plans for 2017? Are you planning additional spend in marketing or investing in upgrading your financial technology? At Lost & Found I am always seeking to create efficiencies and allocate dollars where they can add the most value. Conversely, I am also working hard to contain cost by optimizing expenses. Striking the right balance between these priorities is the key to leading our organizations to sustained profitability in the years ahead.