CFOs Reveal Their Top Issues for 2016  

14 December 2015:

What are finance executives’ top priorities for 2016? Consulting firm Protiviti tries to capture them in its 2016 Finance Priorities Survey, released on Tuesday.

No matter how it slices and dices the data, Protiviti finds that the top priority for CFOs next year is margin and earnings performance. Among CFOs and vice president-level finance executives, that is followed by cybersecurity risks; strategic planning; periodic forecasting; and budgeting.

“With the modest economic recovery of the past few years, finance functions are preparing the enterprise for challenges that could materialize at any time by working to preserve margins and by sustaining a strong focus on working capital management,” Ryan Senter, a Protiviti managing director, says in a press release.

The survey of 650 CFOs, vice presidents of finance, corporate controllers, and other finance management professionals assesses the ranking of other priorities using five categories: process capabilities (financial transactions); process capabilities (financial analysis); emerging issues; technical capabilities; and organizational capabilities.

For example, under financial transactions, finance executives say they are seeking more precision and efficiency in cash forecasting, period-end close, and reconciliation and consolidation activities.

“Cash forecasting represents one of the highest-ranked priorities in our study, which may be indicative of tepid economic recovery in many industries,” the Protiviti report says.

In the other process category, financial analysis, meat and potatoes activities like strategic planning, budgeting, performance management, and balanced scorecards are among the highest-ranked priorities.

And CFOs are reaching out to operational units to achieve goals in these areas, says Protiviti. “Finance functions are working … to equip business partners throughout the organization with more precise and real-time information on performance, cash positions, and profitability drivers to strengthen strategic decision-making.”

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Source: CFO

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