The basic role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is to manage a company's finances. For instance, the CFO must keep accurate finance records to be used in reporting of the company's financial status. Based on the size of the organization, the scope and breadth of this role can vary. With Enterprise companies, the focus tends to be more on management, analysis and oversight.
For example, several departments can work on accounting and reporting, while the CFO focuses on the bigger picture. With smaller companies, the CFO might do it all--from accounting to analysis to managing cash flow, budgeting, overseeing salaries and more. In a smaller company, a CFO might also sign the employee paychecks. In terms of strategic planning, CFOs must have an excellent grasp of the company's financial status to help with long-term planning.
They might search for areas where efficiency and cost-savings can be improved. In addition, CFOs might help with seeking out funding sources and capital investments for their organization. Furthermore, CFOs are usually expected to have a background in finance or accounting. Given the wide range of job responsibilities, CFOs also need the best CFO tools at their disposal.
Major Priorities for CFOs This Year
With the right CFO tools, CFOs are better equipped to focus on and accomplish their priorities this year. In a world with an ever-evolving regulatory landscape, political instability in some areas, and a hyper-connected marketplace, CFOs must be both flexible and forward-thinking.
With a new political leader, regulations can change in an instant--and, companies must be tasked with meeting the current regulatory environment. Plus, CFOs are often looked at as drivers of an organization's global strategy. This means they must continually view the competitive landscape, new business models, operational processes, compensation plans, the company's strategy, and more.
For starters, CFOs must stay away from thinking small. In our fully digitized world, businesses can grow very quickly. So, from the environment of a startup, all businesses must think about how they plan to expand globally. As a result, CFOs should study data privacy, taxes and regulations around the world.
Thinking small is a trap that can prevent the opportunity to scale. It's always crucial to be flexible and adaptive to any changes. The business should have the ability to change direction quickly and when needed.
This might mean the use of a new business model, a merger or a new acquisition. CFOs cannot let fear prevent them from taking the business forward--even if that means dismantling the current business to create a new one. With the right CFO tools, changing direction is much easier.
Another priority for CFOs this year is to build upon their skill set, and the skill set of their staff. Above and beyond an accounting or finance background, CFOs must be focused on innovation. It takes agile thinking to modify processes so that they are adaptive to necessary updates.
Not to mention, competing on a global scale means the right CFO tools must be in place, effective, and user-friendly. The objective is to have advanced communication and analytical skills with forward-thinking collaboration. These are the types of skills that will take a company successfully into the future.
Another priority includes using automation for low-level tasks. Doing so allows CFOs, and their companies, to better position themselves for improved optimization of costs. It also makes the company more competitive as low-level tasks get completed quickly and accurately so that CFOs can spend more time on higher-level analytics and business development. Again, this goes back to using the right CFO tools.
Software Tools Every CFO Needs and Wants
CFOs have many software tools to choose from. Here are a few that are becoming indispensable.
While Quickbooks is one of the most common CFO tools for accounting, many CFOs prefer and are turning to Xero. Since Xero works in the cloud, CFOs can access the application from anywhere, at any time. Also, it is much more strategic and convenient to use over Excel spreadsheets.
All invoicing can be quickly customized for your business. It only takes a few clicks to create and send an invoice to a client. In addition, Xero doesn't require installation or maintenance. All you do is set up your user name and password. Furthermore, it comes with a user-friendly dashboard that provides a clear financial picture.
Recurly is a subscription-management platform that supports evolving billing models. If your company is in the subscription business, this is one of the best CFO tools to use. It also provides an open platform that can easily sync to Xero or Quickbooks. Furthermore, it can integrate with solutions such as NetSuite, Avalara, and Salesforce. One of
Recurly's more important features is in analytics. It provides an analytics dashboard to help CFOs become more strategic and forward-thinking. You can view items such as subscriber numbers and subscriber churn rate. And, it displays billings on a month-to-date basis, as well as the average revenue per customer. Moreover, you can customize reports based on date range, currency, and intervals.
Gusto is one of the best payroll software solutions for SMBs. While it is priced lower than Quickbooks, you still get full tax support. It also offers user-friendly options such as benefits management and self-onboarding. Basically, self-onboarding lets employees enter their own personal information. With Gusto's benefits management feature, you have options for health, 529, and 401k's.
Capshare is a software tool that lets your company issue electronic stock instantly. It's also free to use for 20, or fewer, shareholders. Furthemore, Capshare provides shareholder portals so that you can tell your employees how many vested shares they have. Employees can even get their own portal and custom log-in to check up on their personal shares. Capshare also offers convenient document storage in the cloud.
As a result, you can store all relevant equity documents in one place. You no longer have to search through various portals and files to find what you need. And, within minutes, Capshare lets you compare two equity scenarios and model out new rounds for new investors.
Domo is a business intelligence (BI) software solution that brings all your data together with over 500 data connectors. As a result, you can gather data from the cloud, on-premises, from proprietary systems, 3rd parties, and more. Here are just a few of Domo's connectors:
- IBM Digital Analytics
- Google analytics
You are sure to find several connectors you can use. Once you retrieve the data you need, you can spend more time using that information creatively. Yet, Domo also provides a developer kit where you can build your own connectors.
In terms of finance, Domo offers real-time insight around key financial indicators. You can also create forecasts which show how each department contributes to revenue. Set financial metrics and receive real-time alerts when dips and spikes occur beyond your set levels. Domo can convert data into necessary and actionable insights.
The contemporary CFO must be collaborative, forward-thinking, and a driver of global expansion. Other priorities should be a consistent evaluation of the business and strategic landscape. With the right CFO tools, all these objectives can be accomplished and more.
The CFO, along with the CEO, can make a significant impact on the company culture. Through advanced analytics and models, the CFO can easily build cases around how to optimize marketing campaigns, departmental processes, and more. Today's CFO goes beyond the job's traditional boundaries.