CFOs are under consistent pressure to ensure that an organisation is delivering. From the more obvious responsibilities such as financial performance, budgeting and analysis, to holding key influence when it comes to hiring as well as onboarding new partners and vendors, CFOs have an ever-growing list of things that they need to keep tabs on.
With many organisations forced to completely review their working practices due to the pandemic, the questions that CFOs are asking themselves in today’s market have changed to what they would have been even three years ago!
Here are the top 5 questions that we believe CFOs should be asking themselves to stay ahead of the curve.
Is our headcount where it needs to be, and do I have the right skill sets in the right places?
CFOs are increasingly involved in conversations regarding hiring, and although they won’t directly be part of an HR or Talent function, there will be an oversight. An article by Launchways discussed this in-depth, highlighting that “CFOs are strategists, and in today’s competitive labour market, your company’s growth is tied to retaining and recruiting top talent.”
If you’re a CFO who currently has a window into hiring, regardless of whether it’s for your own team or for another function, you need to ensure that you’re consistently checking that the right talent is in the right places, and also having open conversations about headcount budget for teams that need it.
If you’re in a CFO position where you don’t have any insight into this at all, you should aim to be a part of these conversations at least once a quarter. Collaborating on headcount requirements enables better business growth on all fronts.
Additionally, this will give you valuable data on the return on investment of specific hires, and whether you’re also remunerating correctly. The market is incredibly competitive for both permanent and contract roles, so staying ahead of the curve of this is crucial for long-term value and success.
Have we invested in the right tools and technology, and if not, what else do we need?
Along with hiring, ensuring that you have the adequate tools and technology for your team is crucial to adding long-term value and guaranteeing business performance.
An article by Forbes discussed this in depth back in 2020, explaining that “the CFO is responsible for executing strategy and controlling the pace of transformation through resource allocation and project management. It is also the perfect C-suite spot to collaborate with other business functions such as IT, sales and marketing. From analytics to AI, the right digital tools enable the CFO to boost efficiency as well as to derive useful insights that drive the best decision-making on behalf of the company.”
As a CFO, you want to have a comprehensive understanding of the current tech that is in place, not only because it will be integral for digital transformation, but also because you can understand what areas of technology need to be invested in.
All of these elements directly impact business performance, and failure to stay on top of technology can result in dire consequences.
How can my team make better decisions?
From your direct reports through to those who sit at the same seniority as you, you must ask how you can make better decisions as a collective. Decision fatigue was rife during the pandemic, and many leaders are still feeling the effects now.
Losing momentum in decision-making can have a drastic impact on the performance of the business as well as the culture and well-being of those in it. Data-driven decisions should form the basis of what you do.
Are we on a level playing field with our competitors, and if not, how can we be better?
Competitor analysis is crucial to business success, but equally, you don’t want to fall into the trap of “maintaining” alongside your competitors. Instead, you want to ensure that you’re pushing boundaries to increase business performance.
Gartner produced a compelling think-piece on this exact topic and expressed that relating to competitive differentiation, “focusing resource allocation on differentiation can be challenging, though, especially as it may mean pushing back on business leaders who want to undertake growth investments for which they seem to have a decent business case. CFOs may lack the domain knowledge to argue — or to understand the organisation’s points of differentiation — even when they understand the value proposition of the business.”
Some food for thought is looking at ways that you can be on a level playing field with competitors – whilst also creating room for innovative ideas that will elevate the organisation further.
Are our current partners good enough?
From staffing partners through to vendors, doing regular audits of the organisation’s partners will keep you lean from a cash flow perspective, as well as ensure that you’re keeping partners across all disciplines of the organisation accountable.