Many CFOs are getting rave reviews from their executive counterparts based on their handling of the pandemic. As a result, and as 2021 approaches, everyone is now looking to the CFO and Finance to take an outsized role beyond just the financial aspects of the business. Strategic guidance is a critical need for the business, especially as more departments expect to start spending instead of cutting. Office reopenings will also cut into FP&A’s time as new rules and expectations force spending in new areas of workplace safety and reconfigured office spaces.
Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.
What the Experts are Saying on FP&A
Executives are giving CFOs good marks on their handling of the pandemic, but most Finance chiefs are logging over 50 hours per week to get there. This new survey also finds CFOs are putting less effort into cash preservation and more into strategic spending. “’It’s clear the ambition is to get to near-normal spending levels; CFOs have cut about as far as they can right now.’”
Accounting Today: CFOs taking on bigger role during coronavirus
Executives overwhelmingly see the CFO role expanding significantly after the pandemic. Overseeing Finance has become just a portion of the CFO’s job. Operations, strategy, and execution are all areas where CFOs are taking more responsibility, given their unique view across the organization. It’s setting CFOs up to be in charge of “growth optimization,” and potentially the next CEO. “The CFO will provide the greatest value to the organization through forward insight rather than retrospective reporting.”
CFOs are looking to next year for a full rebound into cash flow growth and increased profitability. But some are considering cutting back on digital transformation projects to help achieve these goals. That’s a mistake, says research firm Gartner. Instead, CFOs should look to fund continued transformation, organizational change, and innovation. “This recovery is an opportunity for leaders to rapidly go digital in everything they do.”
Deloitte / WSJ: As Offices Reopen, CFOs Rebuild Real Estate Plans
Office reopenings are going to require more than just opening the doors. CFOs will need to consider increased budgets for safety and technology, and they’ll need to reassess their real estate strategy. Office designs may also need to change based on pandemic restrictions, employee preferences, remote work rules, and the expectations of future recruits. “At a time when CFOs in just about every industry are likely addressing questions about their organizations’ business and talent plans, CFOs would do well to think carefully about the optimization of real estate within those strategies.”
CFO Daily News: A remote work policy that’s tailored to Finance
Surveys find that permanent remote work will be available for a good portion of the workforce even after the pandemic subsides. CFOs can have an outsized influence on how those remote work policies are implemented, both inside and outside of Finance. Flexibility, collaboration, and fairness are critical in implementing a policy that’s both acceptable and sustainable, but so is the business justification. “The key is to show a legitimate business reason for doing so and enforce the rules consistently with your staff.”
Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content
We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.