More CFOs are looking beyond vaccines and lockdowns in an attempt to model and forecast our fast-changing business environment. But it’s not going to be a return to the good old days of 2019. Cyber currency, healthcare, social responsibility, digital transformation, and other non-traditional Finance concerns are poised to consume much more FP&A bandwidth than they did prior to 2020. And, speaking of bandwidth, CFOs would be wise to add 5G and Wi-Fi 6 to their digital transformation lexicons this year. To keep your vocabulary current, below are a few insights into how Finance and FP&A leaders are moving forward. We’ve found these articles helpful, and we hope you do, too.
Cryptocurrencies have become mainstream, at least as a buzzword. Now, with companies like Etsy, Starbucks, and even KFC accepting these newfangled forms of cash, it’s time CFOs and FP&A brush up on their blockchain to ensure companies take advantage of, or stay away from, these novel new forms of cash. “Finding a CFO candidate with crypto experience isn’t enough—the individual’s philosophy towards the currency has to match.”
Deloitte / WSJ: Survey: 5G, Wi-Fi 6 Supercharge Enterprise Transformation
One rarely considers their wireless technology until it stops working. But, for those on the cutting edge, these fairly new technologies are proving to be a crucial element of their continuing digital transformation. The pandemic has, of course, accelerated the need for remote connectivity, but the benefits of remote sensing, data collection, and computing are forcing CFOs to get up-to-speed on wireless if they want to continue supporting innovation. “Next-generation connectivity is becoming increasingly integral to the ways companies are innovating and transforming—changing how they operate, develop new products and business models, and engage with customers.”
CFO Dive: 4 CFO lessons from the pandemic
As a post-pandemic world looms large, Finance is taking time to reflect on what they’ve learned from the past year. The importance of risk management, speed and agility, and access to capital are all obvious learnings. However, according to a recent survey, CFOs also learned to focus on employee wellness, even if they still have some work to do. “Eighty-four percent of CFOs believe their company is successfully sustaining employee morale and mental health…but only 31% of employees strongly agree.”
Healthcare continues to be top-of-mind for most people, including CFOs. Insurance vendors are increasingly offering new plan structures designed to help mitigate increasing costs while meeting the changing needs of workers. Personalization, reference-based pricing, and reimbursement of public insurance premiums are just a few of the ways both employers and insurers are mining for cost savings. “Emerging health plan designs can help employers offer new choices and provide more value to their employees but require careful evaluation.”
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion is becoming more important to more CFOs, especially as they work in concert with HR leads to set goals and manage investments. Finance overall has been a leader in diversity, and several new CFO appointments show the increasing prominence of women in the role. But, there’s still much, much more room for improvement. “Of the 674 CFO positions at (S&P 500 and Fortune 500) companies, just 90 were helmed by women, a sharp contrast to the 500-plus men serving in the role.”
A Grant Thornton survey found that 60% of CFOs pointed to remote work as a beneficial outcome of the pandemic due to its eventual improvements to collaboration, process, and strategic focus. Downsides included a need for increased investments in cybersecurity, technology upgrades, and supporting remote workers. When it comes to those workers, however, CFOs plan to reinvest in the responsible side of the business. “More than half plan to increase investment in their companies’ DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) practices.”
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