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The future office of the CFO as an enterprise value creator

Now more than ever, the office of the CFO must adapt to the unforeseen changes and uncertainty of the future. In a recent Chief Executive Group webinar. David Fractor, CFO of ImaginAB and Sarah Spoja, CFO of Tipalti, discuss what the future role of the CFO looks like in 2022.

August 8, 2022

4 min read

The future office of the CFO as an enterprise value creator

In a recent webinar titled “The Future Office of the CFO” by the Chief Executive Group, two CFOs, David Fractor (CFO of ImaginAB) and Sarah Spoja (CFO of Tipalti), discuss what the future role of  the CFO looks like in 2022. They also share some of the top considerations CFOs must make before onboarding new finance solutions into their everyday operations. 

You can watch the full webinar here or you can keep reading below to catch some of the highlights.

The shift in office of the CFO

It has been evident that the office of the CFO must adapt to navigate future uncertainty— especially now, it has been more true than ever before.

From COVID to the inflation spike and beyond, CFOs aren’t just seen as someone who needs to know numbers, but they need to know the “why” behind those numbers and make strategic decisions into the future.  

For finance professionals to more successfully navigate uncertainty, they may need to be attuned to weak signals of big change. CFOs will need to identify impending change and shifting trends before they are apparent by scanning the horizon, not the past. - Geof Tuff

Predicting the future using the past is quickly becoming an exercise in futility.

In a recent survey of 200 C-Suite Executives, 69% of CEOs view the CFO as an enterprise value creator — rather than just an accounting and finance steward. The question we are going to answer today is how CFOs will drive value into the future through digital transformation.

Q. What is the future office of the CFO? 

A. Sarah Spoja, CFO of Tipalti

Sarah Spoja headshot

“ The CFO is tasked to know a lot about other areas in the business. They should be able to connect dots in a broad way across the company and maintain relationships with peers, investors, and employees. In addition to this, CFOs need to be a steward of finance and accounting. When CFOs invest appropriately, the rest takes care of itself.”

A. David Fractor, CFO of ImaginAB

David Fractor headshot

“20 years ago, the CFO’s job was to produce financial statements with no insight into numbers. The finance and accounting team was seen as the “bean counters”, and the CEO primarily needed the numbers to just meet compliance standards and the year-end audit. 

Now, the role has transformed into becoming more of a strategic partner role. The CEO is tasked with telling a story but relies heavily on the CFO for projections and to negotiate deal points that CEOs can’t necessarily do. In today’s times, CFOs are not just a “bean counter".”

Q. What are the top three considerations for new finance solutions? 

Accounting is overrun with automation technology — and this is a win on the innovation front. 

From expediting accounts receivable processes to managing expense reports, to handling billing tasks, having a sound finance solution like the AI accounting technology we offer at Vic. ai enables your business to have:

  • Increased internal control
  • Boosted vendor appreciation
  • Reduced error rates
  • Smoothened processes 

Additionally, having a robust financial solution also allows your departments to have greater exposure to other areas within the business. This empowers your department to see the full-company wide picture. 

So, what are some factors to consider before selecting a new financial solution for your company? Here is a summary of what both Spoja and Fractor both agree to be some of the top considerations CFOs need to make before onboarding new technology. 

Gaps, the future, & staying power

  1. First, you should ask yourself what gaps there are in your current tech stack

Because you cannot tackle everything at once, pick a few gaps that you need to fill and prioritize those efforts. You will want to select those tasks in the high-value areas first. 

  1. Next, you will want to consider what you need today (and tomorrow). At a minimum, you should forecast what your business may need 3-4 years from now. 

Again, you won’t want to just look at the numbers today, but you will also want to pull up projections and forecasts for the future. 

  1. Lastly, you will want to partner with companies that have the resources and staying power to bring your company’s digital transformation efforts into the future. As your company scales forward, you want to ensure that your technological processes are there to last. Staying power, in essence, is a company’s ability to continue to provide services — no matter the current economic climate. A company with staying power will have strong sales growth, high margins, and other positive indicators that show its growth isn't just temporary.

No longer a “bean counter” 

If you have taken anything away from this webinar let it be this, times have changed. 

CEOs are now looking to CFOs to be critical business partners in a never-ending consulting engagement. It’s an expectation for CFOs to raise money, consult on entering new markets, forecast risks, be a major player in digital transformation, and much much more. 

CFOs are no longer just a “bean counter”. They are an enterprise value creator who is the guiding force behind companywide growth and scalability.  

Streamline Your AP Process

CFOs have more responsibility than ever to be forward thinkers, and craft innovative strategies to drive company growth. With large volumes of customers, payments, and accounts, finance leaders should actively improve upon their current workflows to create the most efficient processes for their business. Ditch the old ways of AP processing and invest in the future to focus on what’s best for your company’s financial future. 

Are you ready to remove manual accounting processes and foster an environment for digital transformation? Download our “10 ways AI streamlines AP” e-guide to see how you can put invoicing on autopilot. 

Autonomous AP processing: 10 ways AI streamlines AP

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