Growth and profitability top of CFOs list for 2017

Business meeting
By Andrew Harbison, CA Today

29 March 2017

Four-in-ten finance leaders’ main aim for 2017 is to improve their company’s growth margins and financial performance, according to a new report.

Recruitment specialist Robert Half Management Resources found that, due to current political and economic uncertainty, 41% of CFOs said they are focusing on increasing profitability and 39% said driving overall company growth was their prime concern for 2017.

As more businesses move toward digital processes by adopting new technology, a third of those surveyed said that they intend to hire temporary or interim professionals for business transformation projects.

The implementation of new technologies was highlighted as a priority for nearly two-fifths of FDs.

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half UK, UAE and South America, said: “The pace of change continues to accelerate rapidly and digital transformation is set to fundamentally change businesses.

“CFOs are focused on seeking out new commercial opportunities that support growth, which means they need to embrace the potential that emerging technologies offer and consider whether they have the right people in the business to support digitisation programmes.”  

Under pressure to deliver

As the operations of their business evolve, so do the roles and responsibilities of finance professionals.

36% of CFOs and FDs said they had experienced an increase in their workloads, with 32% indicating they feel under pressure to improve financial performance or margins.

Finance leaders are tackling these challenges the same way they are dealing with the digital transformation of their business, with 42% reporting plans to work with interim professionals in financial budgeting and forecasting, 40% preparing to hire help for financial planning and analysis, and 40% bringing in professionals to work in controlling.

Phil commented: “Finance executives are preparing to take a series of measures to improve the performance of the finance function. However, with skilled professionals in short supply finance professionals are needing to utilise the interim professionals, consultancy services or a blend of both to provide a fresh perspective on delivering measurable, commercial business outcomes,”

“For many, this will mean building out a project team to drive forward the digitalisation agenda and then integrate these.”

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