Technology and Data News and Events

Role of a CFO in a business

The push towards upskilling finance teams

by Mike Jones in Other Cat 02/12/2020

The pandemic has impacted businesses in many ways. Finance teams have had to focus on navigating through this period and managing the balance between customer demands and the economic realities that many of us are facing.

The transition to remote working happened quickly and businesses that were capable of reacting and implementing the necessary tools and resources have generally found the transition less impactful on business performance. Enabling communication channels to continue during this period has been a top priority. Constant dialogue with existing customers has enabled many businesses to maintain working relationships and assist with their requirements during these challenging times.

With continued economic stability and uncertainty regarding finances for most businesses, the priority has become focused on cash flow, cash forecasting and understanding new risks. Having the ability to determine potential challenges and regard all the associated mechanisms and scenarios is vital for future management plans. Managing finance, overall costs and how they relate specifically to revenue generation and customer satisfaction are all very important variables. Implementing a detailed plan that is capable of responding to fluctuations in revenue and cash flow has become an even more important element of business performance. 

Finance teams are ramping up their plans in terms of digital transformation. With the likelihood that many employees will continue to work remotely for some time, finance professionals have focused their attention on upgrading systems so they are available in the cloud and not on-premise. Upgrading technologies can enable staff to operate more efficiently and free up more time to spend on analysis, rather than processing information. 

The concern for many businesses is the threat of an additional wave and the associated impact on the economy. This would have implications on business growth, sales and investment into new channels. It’s very difficult to protect your businesses against these economic constraints, but ensuring your business is managing existing spend and budgets creates a better scenario for a business to respond to any significant economic disruption.

For finance teams and more specifically CFOs, the roles have shifted towards a more advisory position, guiding a business on future outlooks and new opportunities. CFOs are now more focused on scenario analysis and advising board members on the potential outcomes, and opportunities to create more value for the business. Right now, the focus for CFO’s lies with value creation, exploring how a business can generate more value and communicate this effectively across the wider team.

For the extended finance team, continuing to focus on new training and upskilling should remain a priority. Ensuring members of staff are continuously skilled is particularly important right now. Aside from specific industry training, ensuring employees have the opportunity to communicate their concerns and challenges is equally important. Maintaining a close check on motivation and morale cannot be forgotten during this period.