Evaluating finance function strategy, scope and design is the top priority for CFOs in 2023, a survey carried out by Gartner, Inc. has found.
The research and consultancy firm spoke to more than 150 CFOs in November 2022 and asked them to rank their top priorities for the year.
Ninety per cent of the 157 respondents selected evaluating finance strategy, scope and design as a priority, followed by planning and sequencing finance transformation activities.
Marko Horvat, vice president of research in the Gartner Finance practice, said CFOs would be “stretched thinly across many activities” over the coming months.
The top 10 priorities identified by Gartner’s survey (ranked by % of CFOs significantly involved in or leading the initiative in 2023) were as follows:
- Evaluating finance function strategy, scope and design (90%)
- Planning and sequencing finance transformation activities (83%)
- Communicating and engaging with the board (82%)
- Setting finance’s technology strategy and roadmap (80%)
- Developing a planning, budgeting and forecasting strategy (80%)
- Improving staff engagement (77%)
- Leading organisational change initiatives (75%)
- Aligning costs to growth (75%)
- Leading transformation programmes (69%)
- Improving budget process efficiency (68%)
Survey results show the top five priorities were picked by at least four in every five CFOs and, except for communicating and engaging with the board, they all relate to redefining and remodelling the ways in which the finance function supports the business for the future.
“More than two-thirds or CFOs plan to be significantly involved even in the priorities ranked in ninth and tenth place,” adds Horvat.
Redesigning finance function a top priority for CFOs, says Gartner
Four of the top five priorities - and six of the top 10 - relate to bringing about significant strategic change within the finance function.
Clearly, the incorporation of new technology and data into finance processes has the potential to elevate the function into a real-time provider of strategic insights and data.
CFOs are therefore adopting a keen focus on this area.
“Many CFOs see the incorporation of digital technology as a key route to improving profitability in volatile times,” commented Horvat.
“They are so commonly involved in these areas, not just because they think they are hard to achieve and need close monitoring, but also because their success or failure will be critical to how a business performs in the coming years.”
Gartner finds CFOs ‘not comfortable delegating’ digital transformation
Gartner’s research found a significant proportion of CFOs felt that leading digital transformation would be the hardest area in which to achieve success in 2023.
But CFOs “want to keep a firm grip on the reins”, said Horvat, and are “mostly not comfortable delegating oversight over such matters”.
Tech-enabled change - both in the finance function and the wider business - is prompting most CFOs to reevaluate and reframe the role of finance in their firm.
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