Challenges for the CFO in 2016

With U.S. economic ratings the highest since 2008, most CFOs anticipate steady growth for the country this year. Even as many economic concerns shrink, CFOs admit uncertainty surrounds the 2016 elections and the possible introduction of new regulations and changes to minimum wage. Other factors—rising interest rates and a stronger U.S. dollar—that may impede exports, at the same time will create lower-cost acquisition opportunities overseas.

Identifying the challenges facing CFOs in today’s economy is the first step to realizing financial success in 2016.

According to the 2016 Finance Priorities Survey, released in mid-November 2015 by Protiviti, a global consulting firm who assists with solving problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, and risk, finance executives continue to focus more on accounting operations than the strategic value of the finance function.

Six hundred survey participants consisting of CFOs, vice presidents of finance, corporate controllers, and other finance management professionals, noted seven key areas of concern.
• strategic planning
• budgeting
• performance management
• business intelligence
• periodic forecasting
• profitability analysis
• risk management

As cyber-attacks multiply, CFOs will be instrumental in calculating risks and establishing measures to prevent breaches. “From a finance perspective, there are significant concerns regarding the security of financial information as well as the financial impacts of the security of all data,” says Protiviti.

Expect regulations and regulatory oversight concerning both cybersecurity and information privacy to increase, placing additional burdens on finance execs to ensure compliance with any new requirements for information security and data management.

On the technical front, debates regarding a possible major overhaul of the U.S. tax code, together with sweeping international tax changes confirm challenges are likely to intensify.
In the area of organizational capabilities, on-going issues with leadership and change management will continue to be significant priorities. And focused attention to written communication, networking with peers, presenting to large groups, and Six Sigma will be vital as well.

Again, the forecast for 2016 looks promising. That doesn’t, however, signal the absence of challenges. In fact, times of growth often spur challenges just as significant as those that mount during leaner times. As CFOs contend with developing growth strategies that fit their organization, they will grapple with questions like these:
• How will we find the right talent as we expand into new markets?
• How do we grow customer relationships when markets are changing?
• How do we navigate regional regulations as we expand globally?
• How might new business models and other market disruptors impact our ability to compete for market share?

Our next post will explore several strategies designed to meet challenges head and achieve success in 2016.

At Springborn Staffing, we strive for excellence. We specialize in contracting IT teams who can help your CFO utilize technology to develop great growth strategies. We aren’t satisfied with simply meeting your expectations – we want to exceed them. Expect the best when doing business with us because you deserve nothing less. Contact us today.

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