Top four challenges for CFOs in new financial year

| July 21, 2022

Rising inflation and the ongoing financial impact caused by COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine continue to cause market volatility and create new challenges for chief financial officers (CFOs) and their teams. Despite the current economic uncertainties, many CFOs still plan a return to growth. Most CFOs (83 per cent) are now focusing on hiring and retaining talent, while 59 per cent are re-evaluating pricing strategies as keys to their company’s ability to grow in the year ahead. Other top growth levers cited by finance leaders include increasing agility to better operate in a turbulent business environment, improving supply chain resilience, and capitalising on digital transformation initiatives.1 Even though CFOs are firmly focused on levers that drive business growth, there are four key challenges that could severely impact their growth strategies, according to a new eBook released by SAP Concur. The top four challenges for CFOs in an uncertain world eBook reveals that audit and compliance complexity, managing the return to travel, the need for intelligent spending, and employee retention could be barriers to growth for many organisations over the next 12-18 months. Jonathan Beeby, managing director, SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand, said, “Changing audit and compliance rules, geographically dispersed workplaces, increased safety and flexibility requirements for business travel, and the great employee reshuffle are making it more difficult for CFOs to predict and manage business spending to support growth. “When CFOs and their teams don’t have real-time visibility of business activities, and if they are stifled by outdated systems and processes, it can end up costing the organisation in terms of potential revenue loss, difficulties with attracting and retaining top talent, and issues with regulatory compliance. “The upside is that CFOs can use the new hybrid work environment to fast-track data-led transformation initiatives that address many of these challenges. Considering that finance is at the heart of every business, it provides the best opportunity to lead transformation that drives growth.” The SAP Concur eBook outlines how CFOs can use data-led digital transformation to address current challenges and help put their business on a path to growth. For example, by using artificially intelligent systems to automate employee expense and business invoice processes, organisations can improve business efficiencies and data insights, reduce operating costs, and enhance the employee experience. New cloud-based tools are helping finance teams adapt to the new world of work by empowering employees with systems and processes that help them do their jobs whenever and however they like. Jonathan Beeby said, “To remain competitive, organisations must now consider how business processes and systems can support the finance team in tracking and managing employee spending, while, at the same time, enabling teams to work in a remote environment. “Whether digital transformation is occurring as a necessity or is seen as an opportunity to improve operations, now is the right time for CFOs to double down and review processes to see if they still serve business needs in the new working environment, and whether those same processes will make the business viable and competitive in the next five to ten years. “It is quickly becoming evident that how you harness and use organisational data is the difference between success and failure. This is where scalable cloud technologies are proving invaluable in building better business resilience and driving a sustainable return to growth.” The top four challenges for CFOs in an uncertain world eBook is available at