CFO Checklist: 10 Steps to Eliminate Manual Finance Nightmares and Boost Efficiency

19 September, 2022
6 min
Brett Johnson, AVP, Global Enablement

Table of Content

Key Takeaways
CFO Transition Checklist to Build a Futuristic Finance Function
How Can HighRadius Help CFOs Tick Their Checklist Items?

Key Takeaways

  • Modern CFOs’ attention is pulled in multiple directions and having a checklist can help organize and prioritize action items
  • Key action items in a CFO’s checklist include building relationships, auditing processes, creating a long-term vision, etc.
  • Building an autonomous finance function using AI, RPA, and other intelligent automation tools is another priority for CFOs

There is a lot of talk about the changing role and responsibilities of the chief financial officer (CFO). From handling environment, social, and governance (ESG) performance to talent management, there’s a lot modern CFOs need to handle. If you are a CFO and overwhelmed by where to start, or a C-suite executive who’d like to help your finance leaders ease into their new role, here’s a handy checklist to help.

CFO Transition Checklist to Build a Futuristic Finance Function

Let’s look at some of the key action items that a CFO needs to check off as they start a new term or a new year. CFO Checklist

1. Audit current processes to identify inefficiencies

Auditing business processes and workflows periodically is key to identifying inefficiencies and wastages. Checking the financial books, supply chain systems, accounting practices, and accounts receivables and payables provides the CFO with an overview of the company’s financial position and practices. It will also help identify which areas require additional staff and/or can be improved with modern technology solutions.

2. Review budgets and contracts

As your office prepares for the beginning of a new year, It’s always best to review the existing contracts and agreements to ensure that they’ve been fulfilled. They also need to take a call on whether the contracts, lease agreements, insurance, etc. need to be continued in the next financial year or not. CFOs should also start preparing budgets and forecasts early in the year.  

3. Review the debt contracts to avoid unpleasant surprises

It is crucial to personally confirm the due dates for payments, the appropriate interest rates, and especially any covenants that could lead to the lender calling the debt. With this knowledge, the cash forecasting system is protected from any unpleasant surprises.

4. Cross-team collaboration and innovation

The CFO is no longer a behind-the-scenes player. CFOs need to build friendships across departments to help the business thrive. They need to work with the CIO to build a technology roadmap, with the operations head to make processes more efficient, with the CHRO for attracting the best talent, and with the supply chain head to ensure seamless procurement while meeting ESG goals. As the second-in-line to the CEO, CFOs should understand the overall business and be at ease talking to investors, customers, analysts, and other stakeholders.

5. Modernize and re-energize the workforce

Workforce morale is at one of its lowest points today. Businesses are affected by the great resignation and quiet quitting. CFOs need to step in to improve employee engagement by enabling programs that help them upskill, feel connected, and be motivated to continue with their jobs. Employees should be empowered with appropriate digital tools to ease their work and help them become efficient and up-to-date with the latest technologies. Recruiting the right digital talent is crucial to prepare for the future of finance as well.

6. Strengthen cash position and working capital

As businesses brace for yet another downturn, one of the most crucial aspects for any CFO is to strengthen the company's cash position and working capital. Finance leaders need to ensure that the business has enough cash to continue its operations and meet day-to-day needs. They must streamline their receivables management processes and infuse the right levels of automation to strengthen cash flows and reduce bad debt.

7. Focus on risk management, GRC, and ESG

Non-financial reporting has gained prominence in recent years and CFOs who haven’t yet looked at sustainability reporting, ESG metrics, etc. need to do so at the earliest. CFOs also play a critical role in risk management and regulatory compliance. Automating some of these aspects such as credit risk management and regulatory reporting can save finance leaders much time, and embrace the trend toward on-demand reporting.

8. Explore new growth opportunities and efficiency improvements

The CFO needs to take an active part in boardroom discussions that discuss market expansion plans, process efficiency roadmaps, and digital transformation. Actively scouting for business growth opportunities, cost optimization, and productivity improvements is important to build a team ready for the ‘future of finance’.

9. Plan investments in data analytics and emerging technologies

Technology impacts all areas of business today and the finance function is one of those that offers plenty of scope for modernization. Investing in automation technologies to improve efficiencies, streamline operations, and predict future outcomes is a crucial checklist item for CFOs. They should invest in making their business unit more data-driven and modern with the use of technologies such as cloud, advanced analytics, RPA, and AI.

10. Long-term vision and roadmap

Having a vision and roadmap outlining the role finance teams will play in brand evangelization and customer experience management in addition to their traditional roles is key to further developing it as a strategic function. Setting foundations for such a vision early on helps to plan better and strive for shaping a modern finance function.

How Can HighRadius Help CFOs Tick Their Checklist Items?

HighRadius is a leading fintech business that helps the office of the CFO transform their order-to-cash, accounting, and treasury operations with autonomous software solutions.

Autonomous software is data-driven software that continuously morphs its behavior to the ever-changing underlying domain transactional data. It brings modern digital transformation capabilities like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and connected workspaces as out-of-the-box features for the finance & accounting domain.

We help CFOs and finance teams deliver measurable business outcomes such as DSO reduction, working capital optimization, bad-debt reduction, faster month close timelines, and improved productivity.

We help tick several items on CFO checklists including strengthening cash position and working capital, building relations with other teams via collaboration tools, investments in AI-based technology for improved efficiency, and more.

Reach out to us if you’d like to discuss how we can help you modernize your finance functions and get it ready to meet the future.


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