Tech needs fill CFOs’ priorities

Accounting

Chief financial officers are seeking to tech up their departments, with upgrades and investments taking up a large portion of their list of priorities for the future.

This is according to a survey recently conducted by research and consulting company Protivity, which polled 1,064 CFOs and vice presidents, directors and managers of finance across the world in June and July. Among other questions, the researchers asked them to lay out their main priorities going forward and found that many of them involve technology. Of the 10 items listed, tech-related items appeared more than any other type of category.

The No. 1 priority was listed as security and privacy of data. Second was profitability reporting and analysis, which often involves software. Third was blockchain and smart contracts, followed by cloud-based applications. Then, after financial planning and analysis (which can also involve software), and changing demands and expectations of internal customers and leadership (within the organization), came process mining in eighth place and automation in ninth. Completing the list was the changing roles of human resources, leadership, development and recruiting.

One tech area where CFOs see slightly lower priorities, though, is in cryptocurrency. Compared to last year, fewer finance leaders say they are interested in using cryptocurrencies, NFTs and other virtual assets (47% this year vs. 54% last year). Further, fewer are listing themselves on markets based on cryptocurrencies, NFTs and other virtual assets (32% in 2022 vs. 45% in 2021), and fewer are reporting customer demand for attention in these areas (23% in 2022 compared to 30% in 2021). The only cryptocurrency-based area that grew from last year to this one was those actually investing or transacting using them (51% in 2022, up from 49% in 2021).

The survey also made note of the growing number of finance leaders using environmental, social and governance strategies and reporting: At this point, 40% of finance organizations are incorporating ESG factors into more of their sourcing decisions, considering not only sustainability but social issues as well.

“This year’s survey findings confirm that CFOs continue to extend the value they deliver to the organization far beyond the boundaries of traditional finance and accounting activities, as they reimagine their roles and embrace responsibilities tied to supply chain, automation, analytics, ESG, leadership skills and more,” said Christopher Wright, global leader of Protiviti’s business performance improvement practice, in a statement. “Through recent tumultuous years, CFOs globally have been presented with opportunities to establish and stress-test their expanding strategic roles in real time, which has helped them contribute to the dialogue in the C-suite and boardroom.”

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