The Major Challenges Heading Into 2023 — and How CFOs Will Meet Them

There’s a long list of challenges facing CFOs heading into 2023. These include, but certainly aren’t limited to, ongoing supply chain issues, rising interest rates and energy costs, persistent inflation and slowing economic growth. CFOs should be asking themselves what can they do now to prepare for these challenges?

Biggest Challenges Currently Facing CFOs

In a survey conducted by Gartner in July, more than half (54%) of CFOs said that hiring and retaining staff is the biggest challenge they will face over the next 12 months. This was followed by accurate forecasting (36%) and strategic cost cutting (35%).

Commenting on the survey results, Gartner Vice President Marko Hovart stated: “The top three challenges are a reflection of CFOs’ struggles to manage against a backdrop of persistent inflation and unusually high macroeconomic uncertainty. CFOs need to identify the few critical areas where investments should be accelerated, such as human capital and digital investments, while optimizing costs against a backdrop of stubbornly high inflation. This is no easy task.”

Raising compensation, of course, is one way to hold onto employees, but this strategy alone won’t solve the problem. Instead, companies should refine their employee value proposition to reflect the expectations that many employees have now from their employers, such as more flexible work hours for a better work-life balance. Companies should also reexamine their recruiting strategies to make sure they are leaving no stone unturned when to comes to finding the right employees to fill open positions.

Driving Growth by Using Technology

As the finance leaders of their organizations, it’s important for CFOs to understand how to drive growth in the face of rising operational costs. Potential strategies include identifying new customer segments and revenue streams, as well as new product and service lines that can help ignite growth. New partnerships and acquisitions, along with fresh new sales and marketing strategies, can help accomplish this.

Technology can also help CFOs meet these challenges. Hovart mentions robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) as a few technologies being used in the finance function to increase speed, accuracy and auditability. “What’s important is the ability to translate these digital workflows back to traditional workflows and stakeholders to explain how these technologies interact and improve them,” he stated.

At the same time, CFOs must be able to find finance employees who are comfortable using technologies like these and also possess the needed finance experience. “Finding talent that is willing to constantly evolve while at the same time relate back to the traditional way of doing things is a difficult thing to do,” Hovart stated. Some candidates may have the technology skills, but not enough finance and accounting experience, while others will have the necessary finance and accounting experience but not enough tech savvy.

Improving Forecasting Accuracy

Tools for improving forecasting accuracy vary from one company to the next based on how digitally mature they are and certain prerequisites that must be met. The best way to improve forecasting accuracy is to make sure that the company’s operating and financial models are in alignment, so the correct drivers of business performance are captured and analyzed.

A variety of tools are available to help companies build better forecasting models for improved operational management. These include ERP export modules, relational databases (e.g., MySQL) and power visualization software (e.g., Power BI).

Hovart recommended focusing on the short term to allow for testing of assumptions, as well as establishing metrics that enable tracking progress against benchmarks. “Broadly speaking, a good framework would be for the CFO to break down the components of what exactly makes up ROI, cost, return and risk and see if the investment reduces cost, increases returns and/or reduces risk,” he stated.

In the current environment, however, there are many external factors that affect a company’s ability to control costs. This has led to a greater focus on maximizing return and reducing risk with, as Hovart put it, “the hands that CFOs are being dealt.”

Using FaaS to Meet CFO Challenges

One strategy CFOs can implement to meet these and other challenges heading into 2023 is to outsource their finance and accounting function by switching to Finance as a Service (FaaS). The FaaS model allows companies to quickly scale up the finance function, standardize reporting across portfolio companies and reduce costs.

With FaaS, CFOs can focus on more impactful business initiatives while reducing the cost and complexity of maintaining an in-house finance operation. Employees can reallocate their time from administrative finance functions to high-impact business development initiatives, while companies can reduce staffing and technology costs in the finance department.

FaaS also provides more control over finances than traditional accounting systems. This will enable finance employees to spend less time on administrative tasks by eliminating the need for manual data entry while eliminating work cycle delays with automated processes and workflows.

To learn more about the benefits of FaaS and Consero’s integrated finance and accounting platform, please contact us at

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