CFOs fear talent shortage, tech disruption heading into 2024

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Attracting qualified new talent, heightened regulatory risks and “disruptive innovation” were among the top risks cited by C-Suite executives in a new poll that maps the biggest short- and long-term obstacles for businesses today. 

Of the 36 macroeconomic, strategic and operational risks posed to the more than 1,100 global business leaders who took part in the Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2024 and 2034 report from Proviti, all but one of the five most pressing concerns carried over from last year’s poll.

While supply chain disruptions, labor costs, and “resistance to change in company culture” were hallmarks of 2022’s report, the top five concerns going into 2024 are characteristically less people-focused. 

Instead, the two top risks going into the New Year were economic uncertainty and technology’s impact, the 12th annual survey found. 

“The economy, inflation and cybersecurity clearly loom large on the executive risk agenda, but the best leaders realize that all these risks are intertwined and need to be addressed as a whole, not in parts,” said Matt Moore, global leader, Risk and Compliance, at Protiviti, in the report. 

“C-suites and boards need to be nimble to address concerns on a variety of strategic and operational fronts and keep pace with the speed of change. Leaders are expected to manage multiple external risks effectively without disruptions to operations, productivity or profitability,” Moore continued.

Aligning stakeholders across business units to tackle greatest threats

The theme of reaching across departments was echoed throughout the report, as new technology—namely, AI—is being adopted both in quiet corners of the business as well as from the top-down. 

While the report characterizes this adoption as a cybersecurity implication akin to Shadow IT, there’s a multi-pronged financial implication involved with bringing AI into the business as well. 

On the one hand, with talent shortages—including the recent downtrend in new accountants entering the workforce—AI has become a part of the CFO’s toolkit, helping them keep pace with the demands of the business as market conditions evolve. 

But recent reports find that within the CFO’s purview specifically, adopting new tools to improve productivity is actually trailing other departments, with 86 percent still relying primarily on spreadsheets for financial planning and analysis (FP&A). This is despite a wealth of solutions available to streamline these processes for the finance teams, as well as rapid adoption of AI in other areas of the business. 

As a result, CFOs will are “going to have to start getting along with their technology partners,” Sameer Ansari, global leader, security and privacy practice, technology consulting for Protiviti said in a panel discussing the report. While this is largely an allusion to compliance concerns, bringing the various pillars of the business closer together when it comes to data and cost analysis—alongside the adoption of new tools—is going to be critical to ensuring financial runways too.

Creating a system of intelligence to drive innovation

With CFOs in particular citing talent shortages, economic conditions and tight profit margins among their top short-and long-term concerns, deploying new solutions that help these teams work smarter and faster will be key to shoring up the business in the face of these headwinds. 

For starters, by syncing key financial, payroll and workflow data sets within a platform that can actively tie actions to outcomes, FP&A teams can work far more efficiently and effectively than they would having to manually comb over spreadsheets the old-school way. 

This can also help finance teams in a pinch, who may not have the human resources on hand to conduct this analysis—or who, more importantly, should be focused on strategizing for the future. 

As for addressing economic conditions and tight profit margins, solutions like Boast that capture the data outlined above are designed to actively track for activities that could qualify for R&D tax credits or various sources of non-dilutive funding. 

These sources of capital become a critical pillar of many teams’ funding strategy—especially for earlier stage startups—when sources of outside investment are tight, or when pre-revenue businesses are looking to extend their product runway. 

At Boast, we offer businesses a comprehensive solution that combines cutting-edge technology and expert guidance to optimize their R&D efforts, streamline capital management, and visualize a successful capital strategy. Features like our recently launched AI Classifier generate comprehensive reports and summaries that significantly enhance and streamline your R&D tax claim process, for instance.

That said, by providing a one-stop-shop for understanding both claim eligibility and the true state of your R&D, Boast enables stakeholders across the business to become better aligned and map more effective strategies to combat their most pressing business challenges.

This is one of the many game-changing features that is packed into Boast’s platform to help finance leadership simplify processes, maximize their access to critical capital to fuel their runway, and gain meaningful insights to help the entire business. 

Contact our team today to learn how Boast has helped thousands of businesses across North America stretch their R&D dollars further. 

Download our new guide on How to Map a Successful R&D Strategy to understand the funding that could be available to your business across your growth trajectory. 

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