Where's Finance heading? 5 must-have attributes for business growth –

preparing for the future despite the unknowns

Take a moment to consider the direction Finance is going. It’s vital to do that. Reason: Finance is positioned to contribute more to business growth than ever before.

Here are some essential attributes you’ll need as you drive the Finance office and your enterprise into the future.

#1. Adapting quickly

In 2020, businesses had no choice but to adapt quickly. But the need for companies to rethink their workforces and workflows hasn’t gone away — and looking ahead, there’s no sign that the dust will settle anytime soon.

Consider the current labor shortage. The struggle to attract and retain talent has already led enterprises to make changes. Here’s what employers said they’re trying now, according to the 2022 Business Leaders Outlook survey by JPMorgan Chase:

  • raising wages — 81%
  • providing flexible work locations — 45%
  • increasing benefits — 40%
  • offering flexible hours — 37%
  • adding training opportunities — 35%, and
  • paying retention bonuses — 25%.

It’s clear that flexibility is a huge selling point for workers.

If you’re already giving employees the option of remote or hybrid work — whether in the Finance department or throughout the entire organization — that may help with hiring and retention.

Meanwhile, that’ll also create new challenges and the need for further modifications. For example, how will you secure data, build your company culture and so on?

Another current situation requiring adaption for business growth? The clogged supply chain. The Business Leaders Outlook survey revealed how the C-suite and others are changing up their action plan:

  • doing strategic stockpiling — 65%
  • adding suppliers from new geographies — 51%, and
  • allocating more funds to move goods — 48%.

The quicker you can adjust, the better.

#2. Bolstering security

The challenge of protecting the Finance office and the entire organization from cyberattacks can keep you up at night. Phishing, spear-phishing, ransomware, malware — the list goes on.

As the attacks escalate, Finance pros continue to look for solid ways to bolster security, especially cybersecurity.

Fact is, Finance is often a target of attacks, whether crooks would like to obtain sensitive employee data such as Social Security numbers or they go straight for your company’s bank accounts. But that’s not all.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor recently threw the spotlight on another point of vulnerability: retirement plans. Last year, the agency issued guidance directed at plan sponsors and fiduciaries, increasing accountability for the online security of ERISA plans.

#3. Maximizing analysis

While Finance has always handled data, the demands surrounding data have expanded and will continue to expand into the future.

Some CFOs have decided to automate the analysis process. Others are doing their best to integrate existing systems to gain efficiency. No matter what, the Finance office of the future will maximize analysis.

According to recent Aberdeen Strategy & Research data, organizations that haven’t yet augmented their analytics are taking two steps to get more out of their data.

  • They’re investing in employee training, with 42% of those surveyed saying they’ve started improving the reporting and analytical skills of employees.
  • Organizations are also deploying analytics in the cloud or SaaS-based environment — that’s a step 38% of respondents said they’ve taken.

#4. Monitoring compliance

Laws affecting employers just keep coming. And that makes keeping up with changes, so you can monitor compliance, tough.

One recent type of law that keeps popping up across the country? Salary transparency. These laws require employers to inform job candidates and even existing employees of salary ranges for positions.

Also keep an eye out for state and local legislation on biometrics. These laws prevent employers and others from infringing on employees’ privacy rights through the use of facial recognition, fingerprint scanning and other technology.

And that’s just scratching the surface of the laws you’ll need to comply with to clear the path toward business growth.

#5. Working collaboratively

In the Finance office of the future, you’ll work collaboratively with others, who represent a variety of functions.

Taking your financial knowledge and turning that into insights you can share with others within the organization will help move your company forward.

Despite the obstacles you know will come your way, much potential for success rests with Finance.

Jennifer Weiss

Jennifer keeps readers current on Payroll news, covering topics such as employment taxes, fringe benefits and the Fair Labor Standards Act. She brings over 20 years of experience to the CFO Daily News staff.

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