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Being Planful: CFO News & Helpful Resources for the Office of the CFO

Being Planful: CFO News and Helpful Resources for the Office of the CFO

Thanks for stopping by this installment of “Being Planful,” our series recapping the latest CFO news for the Office of the CFO. We’ve scanned the headlines for trending topics relevant to the Office of the CFO and here’s what we found:

Marketing Matters

Learning from past downturns, and building on the last bullet above, it’s pretty clear that more investment in marketing actually improves business outcomes. But, Marketing needs to prove its value to Finance in business terms rather than clicks and leads.

  • Sit with your CFO to understand the company’s financial goals as they change, and then justify where investment is needed by showing the marketing ROI.
  • EY says marketers can “stand out by staying in.” As competitors slash marketing budgets, it won’t take much to make and impact. In fact, “a downturn can offer unique opportunities to buy more or buy at better prices.”
  • Look to your customers for guidance. “Mapping your next steps requires taking stock of not only your customers, but also your company’s readiness to solve [your customers’] immediate problems,” says Insight Partners.

The Bottom Line: “Companies that cut marketing dollars suffer in the long run, so CFOs and CMOs must learn to collaborate and build synergistic strategies,” says Forbes.

Job Seekers Are Still In Control

Amazon, Meta, Stripe, and other big tech companies have all announced significant layoffs, but it doesn’t seem to be happening in other industries. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is still under 4% and “there are 1.9 jobs available for every worker.” To stay agile and see through the uncertainty, CFOs and HR chiefs must have unprecedented visibility into their own workforce needs.

The Bottom Line: The advantage tilts toward job seekers, with most HR pros still pointing to compensation as the top reason workers quit. That’s yet another reason for tighter collaboration between HR and Finance as the cost to replace workers (6- to 9-months of salary!) far outweighs the cost to retain them.

Reacting to an Economic Slowdown

The knee-jerk reaction to a downturn is to cut. But hold on there, champ. It’s been shown again and again that haphazard cost-cutting results in long-term pain. If the past is any indication, what CFOs need now is visibility to make confident decisions on where to cut, where to invest, and where to wait.

  • Look for bargains. As company valuations continue to fall, mergers and acquisitions should pick up. But, McKinsey warns, be sure you’re not “trying to ‘catch a falling knife.’”
  • Look inward. A Grant Thorton survey recently found that cybersecurity, supply chain, and remote work are top CFO concerns as we head into 2023.
  • Be realistic. Gartner says “fewer than half (43%) of leaders actually achieve the level of savings they set out to in the first year of cost reduction.”
    Rethink Marketing as your first budget to cut.
  • Research from Oregon State and Harvard Business School found that companies that increase or make only strategic marketing cuts came out of a downturn in significantly better shape.

The Bottom Line: Deloitte recently found that “73% [of CFOs] are more concerned about persistent inflation compared to 27% surveyed who are more worried about a recession.” A shrinking economy might not be your biggest worry, but strategic cost-cutting is still the best defense.

Marketing Performance ManagementOffice of the CFO

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