CFOs fear dual pressure as “protector” and “growth driver”

More than 150 financial chiefs believe their teams are under “too much pressure” to be business protectors and growth drivers, according to a new survey.

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A survey of 200 CFOs and financial directors at UK firms, by business information specialist Dun & Bradstreet, also found that 59 percent of respondents face the dual pressures of more compliance responsibilities, and an increased focus on revenue-generating activity.


More than half (56 percent) of the financial leaders who responded feel board expectations are “unrealistic”, with 53 percent admitting that reduced resources “increase the risk” of serious mistakes.


Tim Vine, head of trade credit for UK & Ireland at Dun & Bradstreet, said: “Suddenly, teams who have reduced in size now have to manage a complex dual role – business gatekeeper and revenue creator.


“Despite the challenges CFOs clearly face, these two roles are not opposites. Protection and growth can go hand-in-hand, but only when they are underpinned and supported by the resource, tools and data to allow for smarter decisions that will grow the business.”


Two of the key business protection issues CFOs face are the implementation of IFRS9 and GDPR.


Vine explained that the role of the financial decision maker has transformed over the last few years and that while many (74 percent) financial leaders feel this has been a positive shift overall, it’s still a “major challenge”.


Nearly all (97 percent) of the CFOs and directors said their role has changed during the past three years. The responses also showed that:


- Almost two-thirds (59 percent) suggest their organisation sometimes rushes through the compliance process to support revenue-generating activity;


- More than half (55 percent) of CFOs and directors feel uncomfortable with the extent to which their business sometimes “gambles” on risk management;


- Financial leaders know how vital data is to making smart decisions, but are being held back by lack of skills (23 percent), lack of investment in tech (21 percent) and inaccurate data (20 percent).


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