By Adam Zoucha, Managing Director EMEA at Floqast
2022 was a challenging year – and there will be many more hurdles ahead in 2023. In a business environment characterised by volatility, it is difficult to make pinpoint predictions.
The aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic have seen finance teams squeezed harder than ever, as they deal with increased demand for accurate reporting, whilst contending with tightening budgets and possibly headcount. 2023 is only going to exacerbate these issues. CFOs will continue to feel the heat as they work to satisfy pressures to deliver agile, accurate reporting that enables leaders to make fast decisions – a mandate for financial transformation. As such, CFOs will require the necessary tech stack at hand to be better enabled to respond.
In order to weather the storm, leaders simply cannot hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. Companies that embrace new ideas, technology and approaches will be better placed to thrive in the difficult short term and build strong foundations for long-term growth. So, what can we expect to see in 2023?
Accelerated digital transformation
The pace of digital transformation is more likely to speed up in 2023 rather than slow down, as tough economic conditions continue to disrupt forecasting. Digital transformation will empower financial transformation, supporting processes, improving accuracy and easing workload. Those pushing ahead with digital transformation will drive greater efficiencies and productivity during short term economic volatility. The decisions made now will place finance teams in a stronger, more competitive position when the economy strengthens.
Automation To Drive Staff Retention
The challenges of 2023 will prove the business benefits of digital transformation. Digitisation and automation improve productivity and cut costs. Yet there are other, less obvious impacts such as staff retention.
When employees are overloaded by laborious manual work, their job satisfaction drops and the likelihood of them leaving their roles increases. Levels of burnout and chronic workplace stress are already high in finance teams; as such, digital transformation could be an integral component for the retention of accounting teams in 2023. With skill shortages set to increase and potential freezes on headcount and hiring, staff retention is more critical to company performance and productivity than ever.
Adopting the right technology will reduce workload and improve staff productivity by liberating accountancy teams from dull, repetitive drudge work. And, when staff are happy, they are easier to retain.
Rise of the Strategic CFO
During a recession, the need for agile and accurate financial reporting intensifies. Leaders need access to up-to-date, easy-to-understand data in order to make decisions that support growth.
This means that CFOs will come under increasing pressure in 2023. Their skills will be in high demand and their workloads will soar as mechanisms of financial transformation. To meet this demand, CFOs will need to deploy a combination of intelligent automation, deep visibility, and genuinely people-centric collaboration tools to support their teams. What CFOs most certainly do not want to be doing is performing repetitive tasks. When technology lifts the burden of manual work, CFOs are freed to focus on strategic initiatives to drive the business forward.
We expect to see more and more financial leaders become increasingly strategic. Using automation will enable teams to do more with fewer resources, and give leaders the opportunity to make better decisions that are informed by real-time data. During difficult times, CFOs need to level up to face the challenge.
Security In Focus
Financial teams are a target for hackers because they deal with sensitive data every day of their working lives. Hybrid or remote working has increased security risks, with endpoint management being an ongoing challenge.
We expect to see changes within organisations that put security at the centre of development. Engineers at fintech companies and financial institutions may find they increasingly carry responsibility for building products that have security controls baked into the solutions. When security is embedded in every stage of the development pipeline, it reduces risk.
Companies must work closely with their customers to tackle security challenges. A focus on embedding security within development processes is a powerful way of improving the defences for every player in the market.
The challenge ahead is serious and unavoidable. It is also a time for great leaders and innovative organisations to shine. We expect to see fresh new approaches to new and old obstacles in 2023, as financial teams work on ambitious financial transformation projects which will ultimately drive growth. Inflation and recession may sound like frightening words. In fact, they are a call to action. Companies that successfully transform today will thrive tomorrow. The future is bright – if you want it to be.
Global Banking & Finance Review
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