Our CFO Survey for 2018 reveals that while CFOs are cautious about the coming year, they are confident that they can transform the finance function into a key influencer of strategic decisions across their organisations.
CFOs play a pivotal role in ensuring that their organisations operate efficiently. They can be key influencers in ensuring their business is well placed to step into the future. Navigating regulatory change, investing the right technologies and leveraging working capital and resources for better outcomes are within the CFOs power to control.
Leading finance functions of the future will need to seize the digital opportunities and have the right people with the right skills in order to be a strategic business partner for the business.
Ireland’s finance leaders are less confident about the prospects for Ireland’s economy over the next twelve months than when they were canvassed two years ago. Interestingly though, many are still optimistic on the opportunity for growth for their business and are actively positioning their organisations to deliver on that potential. The majority of CFOs expect to achieve this growth through developing new products and services, adapting existing portfolios 0r expanding into new markets and territories.
Increasing regulation has become more of a concern to Ireland’s CFOs in 2018. The introduction of Real Time Reporting and new accounting standards has added complexity to CFO’s reporting and compliance agenda. Uncertainty about US tax reform and Brexit is creating planning and investment challenges. While these are likely to be factors over the coming year, CFOs need to focus on ensuring their organisation is fit for growth and resilient.
Years of low interest rates and strong growth have meant CFOs are not as focused on optimising management of their working capital. However, it is becoming harder to convert revenue into cash. Capital expenditure is continuing to decline. Companies must continue to focus on those things within their control, including working capital.
Our survey reveals that CFOs expect to lead smaller, highly skilled workforces supported by automation and artificial intelligence in the future. The ability to leverage new technologies will be a key differentiator going into the future, using the insights that comes from analysing financial data. Understanding new technology and how it can be applied is now a headline competency for CFOs, alongside leadership and team building.
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