The CFO'S Perspective

How does Uncertainty affect a CFO’s Role?

It is being mentioned on the news, among coworkers in team chats, and over dinner with family day after day. It is keeping Americans (especially business leaders) up at night. In fact, every client meeting we have these days has some discussion around it. What is it? Uncertainty.

Today’s culture is wrought with uncertainty that is absolutely sweeping through every industry. Rising inflation, COVID surges, interest rate hikes, a dramatic increase in the cost of living, the war in Ukraine, and a potential recession all have business leadership mired in a constant state of uncertainty. From professional services and hospitality to tech and manufacturing, uncertainty is taking a toll. And unfortunately, it does not show any signs of dissipating any time soon.

In response, many organizations have begun leaning even more heavily on their CEOs and CFOs to guide them through these tumultuous waters. Consumption patterns have changed, new buying trends have emerged, and supply chains have become murky, reducing confidence levels in business forecasts. And amid it all, CFOs are being asked to manage cash flow, oversee new business priorities, and aid in constantly shifting strategic planning initiatives.

Topics: CFO Planning Leadership CFO Responsibilities Change Management

How a CFO Provides Decision Support

A large part of any Chief Financial Officer (CFO) role is strategic decision support, whether those decisions are related to staffing, pricing, selling, manufacturing, or any other area of the business. A CFO’s forward-looking point of view combined with their financial acumen makes them ideally suited to provide actionable information to their CEOs and other corporate decision makers and integral to the success of the organization.

Leaning on a CFO for strategic decision making support offers the following benefits:

Topics: CFO Planning Leadership CFO Responsibilities Strategy

Business Contingency Planning for the New Era

In 2018 we published an article titled “How a CFO Will prepare Your Business for Unexpected Events.” In it we outlined 19 types of unanticipated events that could negatively affect your business and provided advice on how to develop a contingency strategy that would help your company prepare for any kind of disaster or disruption it might encounter.

Do you know what was not included in that list? A pandemic.

This was not simply an oversight. It was an indication that a global health issue was not on anyone’s radar. It was unthinkable in 2018 that one highly contagious illness could sweep through country after country, shutting down economies and causing destruction. No one was preparing for a global pandemic.

And yet, another interesting observation stands out to us. While the word “pandemic” was never used to address that specific kind of business disruption, the many outcomes of the pandemic were addressed. Loss of a business owner, financial hardship, loss of customers, new government regulations, political unrest, supply chain disruptions, loss of salespeople, and transportation issues were all named as possible unexpected events that could have a significant impact on a company.

Topics: Planning Forecasting Strategy

How Much Will Raises Be This Year?

With so much economic uncertainty the employment landscape in 2022 will likely remain tumultuous. Information about how many people are employed, where, and for how much is going to continue to dominate the business news headlines. And much like last year, compensation will be at the forefront of many employees’ minds as they watch their cost of living increase and worry whether their pay will keep pace.

Of course, for the nation’s unemployed, discussions about how compensation may fluctuate this year remain inconsequential. And for small businesses that have been doing their best to absorb rising costs without laying people off or shutting down, the idea of giving raises this year is likely going to be a moot point. But for middle management, executive leadership, and HR personnel at mid-sized to large companies, the question of what to expect in the way of raises remains critical to business planning.

So, what should you plan for a raise this year?

Topics: Recruiting Economic Trends Hiring Planning Staffing Financial Projections HR Budgeting Forecasting Expenses Salaries

How Your CFO Can Manage Supply Chain Disruptions

Import shipping from Asia has become a nightmare. According to McKinsey & Company, shipping costs for a 40-foot container have increased over five-fold in 2021, from $2,000 per container to $13,000. Container ships that finally arrive on the West Coast often have to wait offshore for a dock to open to offload their cargo. Once unloaded, containers can spend days or weeks in the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, or Port of Seattle until rescued by a truck or intermodal train.

Topics: Trends Planning Manufacturing