Are you a strategic CFO thriving to drive change in 2022 and beyond?

22 September, 2020
7 min read
Brett Johnson, AVP, Global Enablement
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1. Have a better economic outlook
2. Revisit your talent management strategy
3. Start your journey as Digital CFO
4. Be a future-ready CFO
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As the business landscape changes rapidly, the CFOs of today have the opportunity to create a whole new and improved structure by leading the organization along with the CEOs and making a pathbreaking positive difference in the finance function. 

Finance leaders must evolve from the traditional finance functions to progress further and succeed. Top four trends critical for transforming the CFO’s journey:

1. Have a better economic outlook

2020 and 2021 have been the year of endurance. Many finance leaders faced the chaos caused by the pandemic and understood the importance of long-term technology investments. CFOs must prepare themselves for 2022 and beyond in advance and make suitable digital investments without further procrastinating. Forbes suggests that CFOs’ are extremely optimistic and they are preparing for explosive growth in 2022.

To keep up with the ever-evolving digital world, finance leaders should create flexible business models and have a sound plan for preserving cash, releasing cash tied up in working capital, and fund strategic growth opportunities. 

 Sustainable working capital practices that benefit the organization:

  • Measure your receivable metrics against your peers and do further analysis to improve performance. 
  • Identify and segment your customers according to their past payment behavior, current credit rating, and DSO to avoid bad debts. 

2. Revisit your talent management strategy

Employees are the most valuable resource and bring sustainable competitiveness to the organization. Talent-management practices can help steer the finance function through new ways of working in this developing era. 

CFOs should consider focusing on:

2.1 Identifying and hiring the right people

  • Hire tech-savvy employees and identify them based on their understanding of the automation technologies within finance.
  • Come up with specific sets of financial KPIs to better understand the performance of the employees.

2.2 Learning and growing

  • Conduct upskilling and reskilling workshops to help your team advance their skills in finance and technology.
  • Encourage your team members to develop digital finance skills while focusing on other professional development that will help advance their careers.

2.3 Tailoring the employee experience

  • Listen to your workforce and keep them engaged. There is a direct connection between employee engagement and retention. 
  • According to a study by NTT DATA, 85% of finance companies that give strong consideration to employee experience help in talent retention.

3. Start your journey as Digital CFO

CFOs have already started their journey as Digital CFOs in managing and future-proofing the business effectively. Digital transformation marks a radical re-thinking of how an organization uses people, processes, and technology to change business performance fundamentally. Processes are made less risky, more accurate, and less labor-dependent with the help of digital tools. Technological enablers such as cloud computing, RPA, AI, and ML fundamentally change how the business operates. With digital transformation underway, the digital CFO’s must be clear on the right automation tools to adopt to modify the business performance fundamentally. The Hackett Group’s poll found that almost all finance organizations are powering ahead with digital transformation initiatives, and some are even accelerating them. Even more encouraging, 64% are launching new digital projects.

Also read: The Digital CFO: from back-office leader to a strategic partner

Transform into a Digital CFO by implementing the following: 

3.1 Adopt digital tools that best fit the organization and help people understand how it will simplify their day-to-day activities.

3.2 Upskill the employees as it is essential to understand how to use the technology to maximize its benefits.

3.3 Instead of making massive investments in the latest technology to gain strategic advantages, make sure to invest in the right technology that fits the organization’s needs well.  

3.4 Digital Transformation is happening, and it’s essential to prepare for a digital future. 

4. Be a future-ready CFO

Finance leaders are no more the custodians of accounting data and are now the economic guardian, architect of business value, and catalyst of digital strategy. CFOs must have a clear vision and a growth strategy of the overall finance function. 

 Roadmap to emerge strongly in 2022

4.1 Lead from the front

  • Reformulate the stakeholder communications strategy
  • Analyze the company’s liquidity position and come up with contingency plans
  • Steady the business and be resilient 

4.2 Upskill your financial planning and analysis

  • Re-evaluate your decision-making approach
  • Keep in mind the shift in customer priority
  • Revisit your investment strategy 

4.3 Accelerate digital transformation to plan a well-suited automation journey:

Be a future-ready CFO


The CFOs of the future must evolve themselves according to the changing landscape, prepare for the coming years by understanding the importance of technology, strategically planning the resource-allocation processes and be a part of this digital transformation movement to avoid becoming obsolete. 

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