Assessing CFO and Finance Leader Perspectives and Priorities for the Coming Year
The volume of CFO priorities has increased for years. The intensity of these urgencies also spiked, forcing finance leaders to make higher-stakes decisions more quickly and implement major adjustments with far-reaching implications. Shareholders and boards press CEOs and CFOs to increase profitability in an uncertain economic environment. Governments and regulators worldwide continue to churn out new requirements related to environmental, social and governance (ESG); cybersecurity; financial reporting; artificial intelligence (AI); and more.
A risk-laden trade war continues to escalate as the U.S. and China issue successive rounds of export controls and sanctions that foist new restrictions on tech companies, defense contractors and, increasingly, other industries. At the same time, generative AI and other advanced technologies continue to introduce new organizational dynamics and new questions for CFOs to address. Results from our latest Global Finance Trends Survey show that CFOs recognize the volume and magnitude of the challenges bearing down on them and their finance groups, with ESG leading the way.
Key findings include:
ESG is the top priority: ESG has been rising as an area of importance for finance organizations over the past few years — still, it is eye-opening to find ESG metrics and measurement sitting atop the priority list for CFOs and finance leaders and teams for the next 12 months.
The impact of inflation looms large: Not surprisingly, inflation sits near the top of the priority list for finance organizations, although it appears to be of slightly less concern to CFOs and finance leaders compared with the views of other finance professionals.
A majority of finance organizations are driving into generative AI: Activities in which generative AI is being employed most frequently include compliance and regulatory reporting, and risk assessment and management.
Business planning and analysis (BP&A) measures are being employed in full force: The impact of inflation, FP&A, profitability reporting and analysis, strategic planning, and enhanced data analytics (collectively and BP&A) are among the highest-ranked priorities for CFOs and finance teams in the coming year.