5 Priorities when a company appoints its first CFO

Nominating a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the very first time is a huge step for any firm…

But the real challenge goes beyond the traditional number crunching; aligning on key priorities can also set you in good stead for the months and years ahead, according to BrightBridge Solutions.

For this reason, a CFO should not only come armed with a wealth of experience, but the drive to remain one step ahead when it comes to protecting the financial future of a company – from planning and managing day-to-day finances to understanding the latest regulations, and safeguarding a business from the looming threat of cyber fraud.

We explore five things for business owners to prioritise alongside their CFOs to ensure finances sail shipshape into 2020.

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Keeping cashflow in check

As the fundamental responsibility of a CFO, the management of cashflow should remain top of the list when it comes to a company’s priorities. From day one, CFOs should seek innovative measures to improve the cashflow of a business – whether this includes the introduction of inventive revenue streams, or working with company owners to create a new budget (that is then strictly adhered to). The transition to more efficient workflows, such as the integration of automated invoicing, can also reduce time (and costs) in the long-term. More crucially, taking the time to build a detailed forecast that better predicts surges in both expenses and revenue can enable SMEs to financially plan for future growth. With this approach in place, major pay cuts and employee layoffs also become far less likely.

Fending off cybercrime

While the threat of cyber fraud may only seem of major concern to bigger corporations, SMEs are just as likely to experience multiple attacks within their lifetime; failure to safeguard against the risk of such a breach makes them even more vulnerable than companies with advanced fortifications in place. CFOs that understand the financial implications of cybercrime can help protect a business in more ways than one, not only by enlisting the services of a dedicated resource – such as harnessing the latest preventative software – but by playing a greater role in the assessment of potential damage in the short and long-term, and any hidden costs associated. With greater emphasis placed on risk management, CFOs can support business owners in bolstering their everyday cyber security.

Embracing future technology

From cryptocurrency to the Internet of Things (IoT), it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole when it comes to adopting the latest innovations that are right for a business. Where SMEs are concerned, CFOs should carefully consider whether the integration of such technologies can work on a smaller scale – and whether they are financially viable. Laying the foundations for more streamlined business systems should of course come first, but the learned CFO is already embracing forms of new technology to enhance productivity. For example, those within the manufacturing and distribution industries are leveraging the IoT in the shift to digital, processing key data with automated operations – adapting their existing finance functions to synch with a more data-rich environment.

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Getting to grips with compliance

Regulatory compliance is of the utmost importance, is constantly changing and should remain front of mind for CFOs keen to maintain best-practice standards. To ensure this doesn’t fall by the wayside, CFOs must create a ‘culture of compliance’ that allows SMEs to keep abreast of the latest changes, adhering to new processes while seeking to improve visibility and overall company performance. From new accounting rules to sales tax charges, auditing firms can support CFOs in ensuring these standards are met, together with financial controllers to lead the way with effective execution. A CFO that proactively researches these upcoming changes so as to anticipate their impact can also better prepare for company-wide implementation in the long run.

Consolidating to one platform

With a central dashboard dedicated to core business processes, cloud software such as Oracle NetSuite provides CFOs with improved visibility, and thus greater control over a company’s finances. A fully integrated system can also enable CFOs to go beyond their primary duties by managing risks and driving productivity against an ever-changing landscape – from the execution of global expansion strategies, to enhancing performance through effective delegation tactics. Designed to help CFOs make better business decisions, an ERP solution can offer a holistic, real-time view of an SME’s activity for increased efficiency and improved perspective when it comes to innovations of the future. With an expert team of in-house NetSuite consultants, BrightBridge can provide the right training and support for businesses keen to transform their financial ecosystems. Learn more about our dedicated services this way.

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