CFO responsibilities Change Post-COVID-19 Survey Says

by Carolyn Mathas

Argyle Advisory & Research Services and FTI Consulting, Inc. surveyed 325 corporate finance executives to see how CFOs and the finance function drives enterprise value. Five themes emerged:

  1. They are more strategic leaders in their organizations as a result of leading via corporate scenario modeling and planning during the pandemic
  2. ICFOs maintained productivity with remote teams so that 71% of their physical finance teams will remain remote or mostly remote in the future
  3. The survey results indicate that automation has not reached its full potential in most organizations
  4. The CFO focus on enterprise value and cost objectives drives changes in the Finance Operating Model
  5. The CFO is well-positioned to lead as an enterprise value creator and provide insights on predictability in an ambiguous market to guide company decisions on cost, working capital, liquidity, risk, and capital markets

CFOs will drive performance while protecting the business from risks. They will drive change across the enterprise that is critical to thriving in future disruptions and shaping the organization for success.

Most CFOs have started to adopt automation, with nearly 80% of respondents indicating that at least 5% of their finance team is composed of a digital workforce through automation — using Robotic Process Automation (“RPA”) or other automation.

More than 40% of the surveyed executives say the pandemic had a significant impact on cost management, financial planning and analysis, budgeting, and forecasting. More than a third of those surveyed say risk management, treasury and working capital management, technology adoption, and accounting and financial reporting were significantly impacted.

Executive pre-pandemic concerns, including supply chains, have intensified. Other concerns include global economic uncertainty, data protection compliance, and cross-border supply chain expenses and management.

FTI Consulting collaborated with CFO Research of Argyle Advisory & Research Services to perform the online survey. Respondents represented companies with $100 million or more in annual revenues, with 34% in the $100 million to $500 million range, 27% in the $500 million to $1 billion range, 26% in the $1 billion to $5 billion range and 12% in the $5 billion-plus category. Companies represented a full spectrum of industry sectors, including financial services/real estate, auto/industrial/manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and retail/consumer.

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