7 Characteristics of the Tech-Savvy CFO
It doesn’t take but the smallest bit of tech-savvy to know that today, technology drives business forward. But it does take a sizable measure of tech-savvy to lead a company’s financial organization into the future. Today’s most successful finance and accounting departments rely on up-to-date financial technology solutions to support their administrative workflows and strategic initiatives—and they’re likely to have a significantly tech-savvy CFO at the helm.
Shifting to a Technology-First Mindset
Tech-savvy CFOs and their management teams can’t help but gaze forward through a technology-powered lens. Buzzwords like “Big Data,” “Connected Device,” and “Cloud Computing” are now commonplace because they define a new approach to financial management and shape their expectations for “what’s next.” Consider these highlights from Intacct’s look at how the CFO’s role has changed from 2007 to 2017:
- CFO priorities went from Reporting & Planning, Audit, Capital Structure, and Software & Servers to Corporate Strategy, Risk Management, Capital Allocation, and Cloud
- Background skill set went from CPA to MBA
- Smartphone penetration went from 4% – 83.8%
- Business metrics went from EBITDA, EPS, ROE, and ROA to “everything from 2006” plus Recurring Revenue, CAC, Bookings, and Utilization
- How they consume info/news went from Desktop, Laptop, Blackberry, TV, and Radio to Smartphone, Tablet, Smart Watch, Digital Radio, Podcast, and Laptop
With these insights in mind, let’s take a look at the characteristics of today’s tech-savvy CFO:
- Sees the Limitations of Yesterday’s Workflows
Financial decision-makers want to be sure their output is timely, accurate, and compliant—in fact, it needs to be. Manual processes, by nature, are prone to human error and put the entire company at risk. Plus, they’re slow and inefficient compared with more modern, tech-enabled processes. A tech-savvy CFO wants more control over their department’s processes and data so they can contribute to the company’s agility and growth, and that means introducing automation wherever they can. Consider these 15 Signs You Have Outgrown QuickBooks.
- Hires Talent for Tomorrow
For as time- and cost-saving as automation can be, the tech-minded CFO knows that great people are responsible for progress. Today, accounting and finance professionals need to demonstrate a rich technical skill set that includes knowledge of updated financial software and a level of comfort with the web-based tools they need to use to do their work, whether that’s managing invoices, running reports, or working remotely. If it isn’t in today’s budget to hire people with a competitive skill set, the tech-savvy CFO will consider outsourcing to ensure the capability gaps are filled until tomorrow. Learn more in Your 24/7 Financial System: Empowering your Team to Work Remotely.
- Has Their Head in the Cloud
A CFO who’s in-the-know about technology is well aware that cloud software is built for growing companies. Cloud-based financial solutions like Intacct’s are flexible, configurable, scalable and secure, plus easy to access from any connected device, around the clock. Cloud software is hosted by the vendor, so it doesn’t require the purchase of hardware and there’s no software to “run” on local machines. It’s easy to implement and the vendor manages all of the servicing, including automatic upgrades. Learn about Cloud Computing: The Basics and find out How Cloud Accounting Saves You Money.
- Anticipates Future Needs
A forward-thinking CFO wants to help his or her company grow and expand, so they’ll expect to grow and expand their accounting and financial organizations in the process. In order take on new, more complex financial and operational accounting and reporting capabilities (e.g. new entities, new currencies, and new markets), they’ll need their financial software to accommodate it. With Intacct, it’s easy to “plug in” new modules as new system functionality is needed—and that’s another reason taking financial management to the cloud makes so much sense for a growing business.
- Wrangles the Right Data
As the business grows, the need for more data increases along with the output of data: financial data, operational data, sales data, marketing data, and so on. And decision-makers rely on data that’s actionable—that tells them something specific so they can choose the next course of action. Often, to get data into the right format, it needs to be brought in from a disparate system and crunched this way and that. A tech-savvy CFO understands that this process becomes easier with a financial system that’s designed for clean and simple data management and custom reporting. They know that the “old way” of crunching numbers on a calculator in in Excel isn’t going to “cut it” in today’s fast-paced business environment. So ask yourself: Is Your Business Ready for More Powerful Reporting?
- Thinks in Real-Time
When a decision-maker asks for insights, they don’t want to wait until Friday afternoon. The tech-savvy CFO knows that today’s cloud-based financial software works in real-time—it’s processing data continuously so users can access the information they need when the need it. In other words, “now!”
- Understands the Power of Integrations
Finally, a tech-savvy CFO has probably experienced what it’s like to have information buried in silos—or to work within a few different business systems and processes that don’t “talk” to one another. Thanks to cloud computing and flexible APIs, they know that today, many of these systems can be seamlessly synced up with Intacct. The result is two-way communication that generates more data and better data, plus smoother workflows and reporting. An integrated system changes the way the entire finance and accounting team works and adds value to the growing organization.
If you’re a tech-savvy CFO or financial professional who’s ready to embrace the latest and greatest technology, don’t miss these 5 Tips to Prepare your Accounting Team for a Technology Change.