According to new research, there are interesting times for CFOs — maybe a little too interesting.
No one is completely sure who said it, but the ancient curse “May you live in interesting times” seems almost specifically designed for CFOs and their teams. A little boredom would probably be welcome right about now.
Just take a look at the feedback and statistics presented in ‘Managing Risk In Uncertain Economic Times,’ a report produced by Deutsche Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit, where the uncertainty is definitely making things interesting. Most of the financial executives surveyed admitted they are being thrown by currency risks, inflation, tax issues and the increased workload brought on by regulatory compliance chores.
On a more positive note, the report suggested that technology is already beginning to play a significant role in helping with things like reporting and decision-making:
“The survey did not specifically ask for the most common technological changes, but the interviews suggest that automation and standardization projects are at the heart of technological change. The clear majority of corporate treasurers who indicate that the use of cloud-based technologies and outsourcing is on the rise in their functions seems to confirm that observation. But there appears to be a need for further improvement in technology to boost automation capabilities: less than one-third of respondents are convinced that the technology in their company’s treasury department is able to automate processes.”
Automation may be a bigger priority in part due to the heightened visibility and expectations put upon CFOs and finance departments, according to a post that analyzed the report on PYMNTS.com:
“With corporate treasurers struggling to gain a handle on all of these factors — macroeconomic trends, regulation, and technology — they are also tasked with serving as a point of contact within their enterprises and rising up as professionals that help to make strategic decisions for companies within this uncertain climate,” the site said.
Beyond automation, the report actually said increasing the availability of data via dashboards is quickly becoming the solution for many CFOs, as well as their peers in the senior leadership team.
“In fact, at least part of the move towards better information availability seems to be driven by management boards themselves, who, accustomed to the convenience and intuitive usability of their smartphones, have come to expect a similar user experience from their corporate software,” the authors said.
Not every organization will get to this point overnight, but there’s plenty of evidence in this research to make the business case for using technology in a transformative manner. It’s going to keep things interesting in the finance department — but this time it could be “interesting” in a right way.
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