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CFOs, what's on your agenda?

Top priorities for finance leaders - from other finance leaders

The finance remit is broadening, with the business looking to finance to guide and steer how it adapts and evolves. We have spoken to CFOs and FDs through our series of CFO rooms, round-table events and other discussions, and here’s the priorities they shared for this quarter.  

Attracting, retaining, and engaging talent​

“Recruitment and retention is very difficult right now with wages spiralling. It’s my number one priority.”​

“I need to create strong development plans for our finance team to motivate them to remain in the business and progress through their career path.”​

“The finance team need to improve efficiency by using digital tools. Our people want to upskill their data and analytical capabilities.”​

“We need to consider different sources of talent including apprenticeships and refugee pathways in order to promote our D&I agenda.”

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Succeeding in a different cost culture​

“I am concerned about the unprecedented cost increases due to inflation and the impact of global political conflict on the entirety of our business.”​

“How can I manage the increased focus on the bottom line with so many rising costs?”​

“We are seeing our energy prices, wages and supply costs rising continuously. This is constraining our ability to invest in growth.”​

“Rising interest rates are pushing-up our cost of debt and I now need to research different options.”

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Making sense of environmental, social and governance (ESG)​

“How will the current energy market impact my ESG strategies?”​

“How can my finance team drive the ESG agenda?”​

“We are at the start of our ESG journey and need to move forward due to increased pressures from external stakeholders. Where should we focus our attention to be in line with our competitors?”​

“We do not want ESG to be a buzz word - we want to set realistic and achievable goals.”​

“We are reporting on TCFD, but are there any new reporting and compliance requirements associated with ESG? And how do you collate the right data?”

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Thriving in the deals market​

“How do we prepare for future IPO or M&A activity and its impact on data and the finance function?”​

“I want M&A to drive as much value for our business as possible so a robust due diligence process is essential. How has a typical due diligence process changed since the pandemic began?”​

“We need to consolidate our processes and systems post-deal, how can we do this efficiently?”​

“How can we ensure that we are getting the best value from our financing decisions?”

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Leading the way in technology, data and AI​

“Our systems landscape lacks integration or a strategic direction. We need to simplify before we can think about AI or automation.”​

“We have identified a number of manual processes which we believe could be automated, but we don’t have the time or capability to do so.”​

“We have started to upgrade our infrastructure and software to support our new hybrid way of working, what other technologies could assist us?”​

“Our recent investment in technology has resulted in more data being captured. Now we aren’t sure about the real source of the truth within the business. How can the finance team lead the way in streamlining the data now available?”

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Making best informed decisions​

“With the increased data we have available, we want to ensure we’re measuring what we value and being intentional with our KPI selection.”​

“We need visibility of our ‘cost to serve’ each customer so we can understand our true profitability.”​

“We need to create time for our finance team to think. Currently, they don’t have the capacity to make best informed decisions.”​

“We want to benchmark our finance function against key areas including data, reporting, systems, efficiency and cost but don’t know where to start.”

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Increasing focus on governance and risk​

“Which sanctions apply to me? How can I act now in a way that is considering immediate potential future sanctions?”​

“We’re bolstering our financial reporting skills to prepare for increased scrutiny of financial results from the new audit regulator.”​

“How do we ensure that our corporate risk register captures all of the key risks and appropriately scores their potential impact?” ​

“We must think about our approach to internal controls, reporting and corporate governance reforms in light of the UK SOX white paper.”

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Effectively managing tax risk​

“How will the government’s Tax Plan impact my business?”​

“Now that the furlough scheme has ended, we need to ensure our historic claims were accurate and consider any knock-on effects to other areas, such as R&D salary costs.”​

“We are considering our M&A options to enhance our growth but we want to have clarity on the tax structures we need in place.”​

“With the volume of tax governance legislation such as Senior Accounting Officer rules, Criminal Finances Act, Uncertain Tax Positions and an increased audit focus, I need to look at our tax risk registers and consider how we govern our tax compliance.”

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Where do you focus your time now – and where should you focus?

We've summarised the different areas of focus for finance into the four quadrants of the CFO Scorecard laid out below:

finance-framework-quadrant.png

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